Dow Has Downer of a Day

The markets put in mixed results as January's hot start is officially taking a breather. Two Dow components reported today, one of which went on to become the indices worst performer and lower than expected GDP number, 2.8% vs. 3.0% expected growth for the fourth quarter, knocked stocks down.

But before we jump into those events, let's see how the three largest indices fared.

Gain / Loss

Gain / Loss %

Ending Value

Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI)




Nasdaq (INDEX: ^IXIC)




S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC)




All three indices bounced around, although there was a slight upward trend as the trading session wore on. The Nasdaq got back to its winning ways, making it the default winner of the three, while the Dow's 0.5% decline marked the worst performance of the day. This is the first week of 2012 the Dow closed at a loss, but the index still has a 3.6% gain for the month and is likely to close out January with a gain. And despite a small decline today, the S&P 500 managed to stay in positive territory for the week, leaving it with a 4.7% increase so far this year.

The Dow's rough day wasn't surprising, as all but two stocks that make up the index closed in the red. The lowlight of the group was Chevron (NYS: CVX) and its 2.5% decline. The oil giant badly missed its expected earnings of $2.85 per share by a whopping 27 cents and overall revenue came in $11 billion light. As Fool energy expert Dan Dzombak noted, "Adding to the bad news for Chevron is news of potential criminal charges against Chevron executives in Brazil, in addition to the $11 billion civil suit, both relating to the company's November oil spill."

Procter & Gamble also reported, putting in a 49% decline in profit and reducing sales guidance by about 5% for the year. However, most of the earnings decline was due to a non-cash writedown which, when removed, led to a flat performance. P&G also noted that sales volume growth continues to bifurcate as developing markets and developed economies head in opposite directions.

Although it is not a Dow component, Ford (NYS: F) completed its best quarter since 1998, but still not quite good enough, sending shares down 4.2% for the day. It is because that $20.2 billion outcome was largely the result of a $12.4 billion accounting move, leaving the company six cents shy of analysts' forecasted 26-cent-per-share total. Europe continues to be an issue for the Blue Oval as losses totaled $190 million. And although the Thai floods helped Ford's 2.1 million in sales pass Toyota's (NYS: TM) 1.6 million in the U.S. market for 2011, the disaster caused Ford's Asian unit to rack up an $83 million dollar loss. It is expected to bounce back in 2012.

So while Ford, Chevron, and Proctor & Gamble had poor quarters, there are plenty of other companies out there that investors need to watch during this earnings season. In the Fool's "Fourth-Quarter Earnings Report: 7 Stocks You'll Want to Watch," you'll find information on this quarter's possible big performers. It's completely free for our readers, so click here to access your report today

At the time thisarticle was published David Williamsonholds no position in any company mentioned.Click hereto see his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Ford Motor.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Chevron, Procter & Gamble, and Ford Motor; and creating a synthetic long position in Ford Motor. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.

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