Last Week's Worst Performing Dow Components

Last Week's Worst Performing Dow Components

This past week was one and a half days shorter than a normal trading week, but it was still jam-packed with economic reports. Monday gave us a report on housing construction spending, which rose 0.5% in May. Tuesday brought auto industry sales numbers and U.S. factory orders, which were both higher for the period. On Wednesday it was the trade report, which showed a big jump in the trade deficit in May, and we also got a better-than-expected ADP jobs report. Of course, Thursday was quiet on Wall Street but perhaps noisy in your neighborhood as the sun went down. Finally, Friday brought the Labor Department's jobs report, which came in with similar fashion as the ADP report, beating estimates and wowing investors.

And, after all that, the Dow Jones Industrial Average managed to move higher by 226.24 points, or 1.51%, and now sits at 15,135.84. The other major indexes also rose higher this past week. The S&P 500 increased by 1.59%, while the Nasdaq gained 2.23%. But even though in general the markets moved higher, we can still find a few stocks within the Dow that fell into the red for the week.

Before we hit the Dow losers, let's look at this week's best performing component: United Technologies . Shares of the building systems and aerospace company rose 3.86% during the three and a half days of trading. The company is well positioned to benefit from a recovering economy and strengthening construction industry, so a number of the economic data points released this week played right into United Tech's hand. Additionally, once the company's Goodrich division and aerospace units pick up steam, the sky may be the limit for this stock.

The big losers
Earth-moving company Caterpillar lost 0.42% of its value over the past few trading days, as precious metals and other natural resources had a terrible Friday. On the last day of the week alone, gold lost 3.13%, sliver declined by 4.89%, and platinum and copper slid 1.51% and 3.45% respectively. Caterpillar is a big player in mining equipment sales, and when the commodity prices of the resources which are mined fall, demand for heavy machinery usually will follow suit.

Shares of Intel declined by 0.7% last week. There was very little negative news about the company this past week, but Intel's new CEO, Brian Krzanich, did make some comments two Fridays ago, which may have moved the stock slightly lower. Krzanich said that Intel has now made a concerted effort to move into the mobile chip market. While on the surface this sounds like kind of comment that should send the stock higher, after a deeper look I believe the comment means that until just recently Intel didn't take the mobile-chip makers and their specialized chips serious. If so, that would indicate that previous management truly missed the boat on what is now a massive market, which is actually eating away at the traditional PC chips market.

Finally, Microsoft became the Dow's worst performing component this past week, as shares lost 0.95% of their value. The technology company lost one of its unit executives, which is the likely cause behind the declining share price. Don Mattrick, head of Microsoft's Xbox division, announced that he was leaving Mr. Softy, after having been with the company since 2007, to take the CEO role at the social-gaming company Zynga. This is a major win for the small gaming company and a major blow to Microsoft, as Mattrick led the unit into profitability and helped it become one of Microsoft's best-performing units.

The other Dow losers this week:
(For more information on why shares of the other losers were lower this past week, click on the link for the company.)

  • Pfizer lost 0.14%

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Fool contributor Matt Thalman owns shares of Microsoft. 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 Intel and owns shares of Intel and Microsoft. 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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