Why These 3 Dow Stocks Plunged This Week

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Just when investors thought it couldn't get any worse, it did. After finishing its worst month in two years on Thursday, The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) dropped more than 2.2% on Friday alone after the release of a dismal U.S. jobs report.

Despite the short week, the Dow dropped 2.7% in four trading days as reports showed U.S. employers added far fewer jobs in May than expected, and manufacturing data from the U.S. and around the world was almost universally disappointing. And that's not even taking into account the continuing mess in Europe. Investors remain worried about a possible Greek exit from the eurozone, and there was increasing concern this week that Spain could be in need of a bailout as well.

But even though the Dow had a particularly rough week, there were individual stocks that fared even worse.

Company

Change This Week

ExxonMobil (NYS: XOM) (5.1%)
Caterpillar (NYS: CAT) (4.9%)
Hewlett-Packard (NYS: HPQ) (4.8%)

ExxonMobil was the biggest loser on the Dow this week, dropping 5.1%. Oil fell more than 8% on the week to below $84 a barrel as disappointing economic data from around the world raised the likelihood of lower future global energy demand, certainly not good news for the company.

Manufacturing giant Caterpillar also had a terrible week, dropping nearly 5%. Weak guidance on future mining demand from rival Joy Global (NYS: JOY) helped push Caterpillar's stock down sharply on Thursday. The company recently made a big bet on mining, purchasing mining-equipment maker Bucyrus International for more than $8 billion, its biggest acquisition ever. Caterpillar is also one of the most exposed companies on the Dow to the global economy and China in particular. Data on Friday showed that China's manufacturing sector grew less than expected in May, leading many investors to call for stronger stimulus from the government.

Tech stalwart Hewlett-Packard also wound up having a horrible week. Its stock was actually in positive territory by Thursday's close, but an analyst downgrade and the weak economic reports sent the stock plummeting 6.3% Friday. Analyst Peter Misek of Jeffries & Co. downgraded HP to "hold" from "buy," citing the company's inability to capitalize on key growth areas in tech, smartphones. and tablet computers. Investors hope HP's new strategy and the cost savings from reducing its workforce by 8% will help its falling stock price; it's now dropped more than 42% in the past year.

The big picture
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At the time this article was published Brendan Byrnes owns shares of Caterpillar. The Motley Fool owns shares of Joy Global and has adisclosure policy. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days.

Copyright © 1995 - 2012 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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