Last Week's Big Dow Losers


After another wild week, which started as investors worried about the possible collapse of certain European financial intuitions, the Dow Jones Industrial Average's managed to fight its way back to almost even on Friday, and close down just 2 points, or 0.01%, for the past five trading sessions. The other major indexes performed slightly worse for the week, as the S&P 500 lost 3.81 points, or 0.24%, while the Nasdaq fell by 4 points, or 0.12%.

As the Dow closed flat for the week, its 30 components were split down the middle, with 15 moving higher and 15 losing ground last week.

Before we hit the Dow losers, let's look at the index's big winner of the week: Hewlett-Packard has been on fire in 2013, and that trend continued this past week, as shares rose another 3.87%. Year to date, the stock is up an astonishing 61.68%, while the Dow itself has risen only 10.74%. Meg Whitman is clearly handling the company's turnaround very well, and there are no signs that things should change in the future.

One possible negative for Hewlett-Packard this past week was that shareholders re-elected all of the company's board members on Thursday. A number of activist investors and shareholder-rights groups had voiced their opinions that the board members, who were involved in the acquisition of Autonomy, should be removed from their position. The Autonomy purchase cost the company more than $10 billion, and recently HP decided to write down more than $8 billion of the purchase price.

The big losers
Shares of Caterpillar continue to fall on a weekly basis, and after losing 1.52% this past week, the stock has now dropped for the past seven straight weeks. The main culprit for the decline this week was the company's sales report for the past three months. Caterpillar is one company that reports its sales on a monthly basis to investors, and the report for the rolling three months ending in February was very concerning. Sales fell by 13% in that time frame, compared with a decline of only 4% for the previous three month period which ended in January. Sales in the Asia-Pacific market dropped 26%, making that region of the world Caterpillar's worst-performing market for the February reading.

Shares of Cisco , meanwhile, dropped nearly 4% on Thursday alone, and they closed the week down 5.33%. The networking technology stock ended the week as the worst Dow component after its closest competitor reported weak demand. Oracle reported earnings on Wednesday evening and announced that it was experiencing a lack of demand in nearly every one of its operating segments.

Cisco was also downgraded by a few Wall Street analysts this week, which certainly helped push shares lower. One downgrade came from FBR Capital, and my Fool colleague Rich Smith recently dug into the rating downgrade and gave his opinion on what investors should do with Cisco moving forward.

After managing to become the top Dow performer two weeks ago, shares of Boeing fell 1.86% this past week. The decline was also large enough to make Boeing the third worst performing Dow component. Shares began falling at the start of the week when the largest commercial airline deal ever was announced and Boeing wasn't part of it.

Lion Air, operating out of Indonesia, signed a deal with Boeing's closest competitor, Airbus, for 234 planes, worth more than $24 billion. Just last year, Lion Air signed a deal with Boeing for 230 planes and an option to buy 150 more. The new purchase agreement with Airbus represents not only a lost customer, but also a lost opportunity to sell those additional 150 planes.

Big aluminum producer Alcoa also fell this week. Alcoa's stock price dropped 2.08% over the past five days, but most of that drop came on Tuesday, when shares lost more than 1%. The catalyst on Tuesday was when Norsk Hydro, a European competitor, was downgraded by Nordea Bank, in part because aluminum prices have been weak and aren't showing signs of recovering. The price of aluminum is down over the past year as stockpiles of the metal continue to rise in countries such as China.

Other Dow losers this week were Du Pont, which closed lower by 1.2%; JPMorgan Chase, down 2.47%; Intel, down 0.23%; Bank of America, down 0.08%; ExxonMobil, down 0.09%; General Electric, down 0.29%; McDonald's, down 0.4%; UnitedHealth Group, down 0.49%; WaltDisney, down 1.38%; Merck, down 0.43%, and IBM, down 1.32%.

More Foolish insight
The massive wave of mobile computing has done much to unseat the major players in the PC market, including venerable technology names like Hewlett-Packard. However, HP's rapidly shifting its strategy under the new leadership of CEO Meg Whitman. But does this make HP one of the least-appreciated turnaround stories on the market, or is this a minor blip on its road to irrelevance? The Motley Fool's technology analyst details exactly what investors need to know about HP in our new premium research report. Just click here now to get your copy today.

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Fool contributor Matt Thalman owns shares of Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, and Walt Disney. Check back Monday through Friday as Matt explains what caused the Dow's winners and losers of the day, and every Saturday for a weekly recap. Follow Matt on Twitter: @mthalman5513.The Motley Fool recommends Cisco Systems, Intel, McDonald's, UnitedHealth Group, and Walt Disney and owns shares of Bank of America, General Electric, Intel, IBM, JPMorgan Chase, McDonald's, Oracle, and Walt Disney. 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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