The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI ) slipped 27 points today, or 0.21%. But some stocks fared worse than others. These were the three biggest losers:
|Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT )
|Intel (Nasdaq: INTC )
|Kraft (NYSE: KFT )
Wal-Mart continues to slide after falling nearly 4% yesterday following its earnings announcement. Total sales were up 4.5% during the holiday quarter, but earnings fell 12% as the discount retailer had to slash prices to attract cash-strapped consumers. Investors will want to keep an eye on unemployment figures, which may be slowly declining but are still uncomfortably high for companies like Wal-Mart, whose customers tend to have lower incomes.
Intel shares fell after Dell (Nasdaq: DELL ) reported weak earnings. Sales rose slightly, but the PC giant's net income fell 18%. Although its large-enterprise business is still performing well, its public institution unit struggled. PC sales are obviously significant for Intel, the dominant player in the market for PC chips. Generally speaking, sales in emerging markets have remained strong, but analysts are worried about U.S. PC sales as consumer dollars have shifted to ARM Holdings-based devices like smartphones and tablets. There have been also been reports that Apple may be working on its own chips based on ARM technology that could potentially replace Intel's in its computers.
Kraft is down about the same amount that shares rose yesterday on its solid earnings announcement. Sales grew 6.6%, and earnings rose 54%, largely based on cost-savings. Kraft is planning to split up its snack and grocery brands into two separate companies later this year. As I've noted before, the good giant's above-average valuation is one factor that seems to be weighing on the stock.
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