Why These 3 Dow Stocks Fell Today

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI  ) seemed to take another day to catch its breath after last Friday's meltdown, the biggest decline of the year for the blue-chip index. Today, the Dow was essentially flat, rising just 0.2%. Data from the Institute for Supply Management showed that U.S. service companies grew at a slightly faster than expected pace in May, giving investors at least a bit of good news to digest.

The mess in Europe continues to be the major factor pulling the market down, and investors see no signs that the situation will abate anytime soon. There was continued gridlock today as Spain's budget minister called for direct aid from the European Union for its troubled banks, as the country tries to avoid the need of a costly bailout.

But in spite of Europe, the Dow managed to squeak out a meager gain. Here are three Dow stocks that didn't quite fare as well.

Company

Change Today

United Technologies (NYSE: UTX  ) (0.80%)
Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT  ) (0.74%)
Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO  ) (0.54%)

United Technologies was the biggest loser on the Dow today, and the stock continues to underperform the index in 2012, down 3% year to date. The company's Pratt-Whitney division signed a definitive agreement today to offer one of its engines on Russian company Irkut's MC-21 family of aircraft. The move underscores United Technologies' recent move all-in on the aerospace segment, which should be its main growth driver going forward.

Wal-Mart was the Dow's second biggest loser on the day, and it continues to deal with the fallout of its Mexican bribery scandal. At last week's annual meeting, shareholders showed significantly higher dissatisfaction with Wal-Mart versus the prior year, voting records released Monday showed. Still, the company continues to perform well overall this year, and its stock even hit a 52-week high last week.

Coca-Cola rounds out the Dow's losers today. Investors are wondering how a proposed limit on soda sales in New York City would affect the company. Coca-Cola is clearly not happy about the proposed change to the city's health code. The company's spokesman said, "Public health issues cannot be effectively addressed through a narrowly focused and misguided ban."

Outside the Dow, industrial supplier Fastenal (Nasdaq: FAST  ) fell a whopping 9.8% today after releasing disappointing May sales data. The company's revenue rose 18.4% to $275 million in May, but investors were expecting greater sales during a normally strong month for Fastenal. Looking more long-term, investors are worried about competition from Amazon.com, which launched an online equipment supply store on April 23. The site already offers more than 500,000 products.

The big picture
After a terrible month or so for the stocks, it can be tempting to run far away from the market. But that can also be one of the worst mistakes long-term investors can make. The most successful stock picks are often great businesses purchased at attractive prices during dips in the market that grow over many years. Our chief investment officer has uncovered one such great company in our new report, "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2012." It highlights a company that is revolutionizing commerce in Latin America. You can get instant access to the name of this company -- it's absolutely free.

Brendan Byrnes owns shares of United Technologies. The Motley Fool owns shares of Coca-Cola and Amazon.com. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Coca-Cola and Amazon.com and creating a diagonal call position in Wal-Mart Stores. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.


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