Last Week's Dow Losers


On a week when the markets got a contracting gross domestic product number and lower job growth than they were expecting, all three of the major indexes still managed to end the week higher. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished the week up 113.81 points, or 0.81%, and now sits at 14,009. The index is now within 155 points of its all-time high after it climbed 149 points this past Friday. The S&P 500, meanwhile, moved higher by 0.67%, or 10.21 points, and the Nasdaq gained 29 points, or 0.93%. Only nine of the Dow's 30 components ended the week in the red, but four of them were down more than 1.5%.

The big winners
Before I get to the Dow losers, let's quickly review the index's biggest winner. Verizon ended the week higher by 4.42%, after recently posting a fairly strong quarterly report and an upgrade from Piper Jaffary. All of the wireless services providers received a bump this week on news that, as of today, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act makes it illegal for customers to unlock their cell phones and move to different service providers.

The big losers
Shares of Hewlett-Packard ended the week lower by 3.11%, making it the second worst Dow stock of the week. The world's No. 2 personal-computer manufacturer, Lenovo, announced a 34% quarterly profit increase this week and increased its PC market share at a time when the industry as a whole is shrinking. That was the last thing HP shareholders wanted to hear, as HP's sales slide lower every quarter because of the consumer shift to mobile computing. HP also announced on Friday that it will close a site in Germany and cut at least 850 jobs in an effort to restructure its business.

The world's largest oil company, ExxonMobil , lost 1.84% of its value this past week. The company announced earnings on Friday that neither blew investors away nor crushed their hopes in the stock. Oil product fell by 5% in the quarter, though earnings rose by 6% and the company narrowly missed a full-year earnings record. The company's oil refining business helped it offset the lack of production and lower price for oil during the quarter.

Exxon shares took a notable hit on Wednesday as investors worried about the situation in Iraq. The company has contracts with two political factions in the country, and it seems likely that ExxonMobil will be able to work with only one in the future. How this will affect oil production or profits in the future remains to be seen, but investors don't seem to like the situation Exxon has found itself in.

The Dow's biggest loser of the week was Merck , as shares fell 4.78% during the past five trading days. During its quarterly earnings announcement on Friday, the company said profits fell by 7%, citing strong generic competition. The company also said it won't go through with plans to seek FDA approval for an osteoporosis drug this year and will instead wait until sometime next year. Many observers believe this osteoporosis drug will be a great success for Merck, which could use the revenue from a new drug as a number of large names go off patent in the coming years.

Analysts had been expecting a profit decline, and management said it expects 2013 revenue and profits to be in line with those of 2012.

Finally, shares of Boeing ended the week down just 0.21%, as the company continues to struggle with its 787 Dreamliner. News came this week that Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk is assisting Boeing with its lithium-ion battery issues. Musk could be a great resource for Boeing's engineers, given that Tesla builds fully electric cars that run on batteries and give drivers up to 300 miles per charge. The relationship may be on the rocks, though, as Musk reportedly believes the way Boeing is using the battery is "inherently unsafe." There has already been one fire and an emergency landing because of the 787 battery systems.

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Fool contributor Matt Thalman owns shares of Tesla Motors. Follow Matt on Twitter @mthalman5513. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Tesla Motors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't 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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