The Dow's 5 Big Losers


With the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 115 points, or 0.88%, it would seem that politicians had come to an agreement that would allow the U.S. economy to avert the fiscal cliff. But that hasn't happened. So maybe the market is rallying because the Federal Reserve, which is meeting today and tomorrow, has preannounced how it will single-handedly fix the jobs market. But while the Fed has told investors it will continue to keep interest rates low until the job market hits the Fed's goals, the central bank hasn't been able to fix the jobs market yet, and many believe its new actions will not have a meaningful impact on job growth.

Regardless, as of 12:50 p.m. EST, the Dow now sits at 13,285, and only three of its 30 components are in the red.

Shares of McDonald's have lost a marginal 0.23% today. Just yesterday, shares moved higher by more than 1% after November's same-store sales were up 2.4%. This was seen as great news for the fast-food company because in October, same-store sales had dropped for the first time in more than eight years.

But some analysts warned investors yesterday that the sales growth may not be the new trend, but just a lucky beat. One analyst noted that this November had an extra Thursday and Friday that may have contributed to the better sales numbers. Another analyst noted that December's comps, as well as the whole first quarter, are extremely tough because of unseasonably warm weather last year. McDonald's share price is down nearly 11% year to date, while the Dow itself is up 8.75%.

Other than McDonald's, there are four more Dow stocks which are down year to date. The worst performer of the year is Hewlett-Packard , which is down nearly 45%. It has been a tough year for the PC manufacturer, which has seen sales decline as consumers shift to mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.

The second-worst Dow performer, Intel , is down for similar reasons. While Intel controls nearly the entire market of PC chips, it barely has a presence in the mobile game.

The two other Dow losers this year are Caterpillar and DuPont are down 3.3% and 4.3%, respectively. DuPont recently slid into the red following news that the company committed fraud and lied to a federal court about patented seed technology.

As for Caterpillar, the company is the market share leader in an industry in which size matters, and its quality products, extensive service network, and unparalleled brand strength combine to give it solid competitive advantages. One issue is that its stock price is strongly tied to the overall health of not only the U.S. economy, but the world economy. With continued concerns about the fiscal cliff, China's slowing GDP growth, and the European debt crisis, the stock price is down for the year. If you're interested in finding out more about Caterpillar's strengths and weaknesses, check out our brand-new report on the company. Just click here to access it now.

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Fool contributor Matt Thalman has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Intel and McDonald's. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Intel and McDonald's. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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