Last Week's Worst Performing Dow Components


It was quite the week on Wall Street. The market soared higher, then plummeted, and then came back higher as each piece of economic data told a slightly different story about the economy and the health of the American consumer. There were too many data points and press releases this week to go through them all, and at the end, the only one that really truly seemed to matter was the Bureau of Labor Statistics job report that came out on Friday morning.

Estimated job growth was 164,000, but many market participants believed that the number would come in much lower than that. The report indicated that 175,000 jobs were created in May, but because of a high number of new participants, the actual unemployment rate rose from 7.5% to 7.6%. So investors weren't sure what to do, and the markets fluctuated until Friday morning. But Friday's job report gave investors confidence and sent the markets moving high enough to gain back the losses it had suffered earlier in the week. And when the closing bell rang on Friday at 4 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was higher by 132 points, or 0.87%, for the week and sat at 15,248. The S&P 500 was also up for the previous five trading days by 0.79%, while the Nasdaq had gained 0.38% during the week.

Before we hit the Dow losers, let's look at the index's big winner of the week: Pfizer , whose shares gained 3.78% over the past five trading sessions. This week's big move came after shares fell 6.23% two weeks ago, when the stock was downgraded and hit with a number of other outside factors. But this week, shares were given a good boost when the company announced it had paid $25 million to CytomX for work on a developmental cancer-fighting antibody therapy. CytomX is a small biotech firm that could receive as much as $600 million if the company meets all the milestones and goals Pfizer has laid out.

The big losers
Pfizer wasn't the only Dow component to totally reverse course from last week. Bank of America went the opposite direction of Pfizer. Two weeks ago, the stock was the Dow's best performer, gaining 3.17%, and this past week, it was the worst on the index, losing 2.05%. This week we saw the bank in the midst of a legal battle in which Bank of America has already agreed to pay $8.5 billion to settle issues that stem back to the company's purchasing of Countrywide. But not all of the companies that are on the other side of the settlement agree to the amount, which is why B of A is once again in court. Some projections claim that Bank of America could pay as much as $60 billion if the judge doesn't approve the current $8.5 billion amount.

JPMorgan Chase lost 0.58% this past week, as shares of the megabank fluctuated with the market each day. But one of the big declines came on Wednesday, when the company announced that it would take an $842 million hit on loans it had given to Jefferson County, Ala. The bank had sold the municipality swaps and derivatives before the financial crisis so it could finance a new sewer system. But since then the county has declared bankruptcy, and this move by JPMorgan Chase is a sign of good faith, since Jefferson County owes a total of $1.5 billion to the bank. For more information about this issue, click here.

Shares of Alcoa ended the week lower by 2%, with very little negative news directly related to the company. The aluminum giant has struggled all year, as shares are down 4.03% year to date, which also makes it the second worst performing Dow component of 2013 -- just slightly behind Caterpillar, which is down 5.53% year to date. The stock fell 1.41% on Tuesday alone, as the Dow broke its streak of 20 consecutive Tuesday wins. During the past 20 Tuesdays before this past week, Alcoa was the worst-performing stock, falling lower for 12 of the 20 Tuesdays and gaining only 0.1% while the index itself rose 1,517 points.

A few other Dow losers this week:

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Fool contributor Matt Thalman owns shares of Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase. 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 Chevron and UnitedHealth Group and owns shares of Bank of America, IBM, and JPMorgan Chase. 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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