3 Dow Stocks That Got Left in the Dust Today

Calling any stock on the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI  ) a loser today is tough, given that the index jumped 0.75%. But there were still a few companies that were determined to lose you money. Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  ) was the king of losers today, falling 1.14%. McDonald's (NYSE: MCD  ) was next in line with a 0.71% drop, and Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT  ) took bronze with a 0.46% decline at market close.

Here is a look at how all the indices fared overall.

Index

Gain / Loss %

Ending Value

Dow Jones Industrial Average +0.75% 12.837
Nasdaq +1.2% 2,929
S&P 500 +1% 1,357

Source: S&P CapitalIQ.

Where HP fails, someone is likely to succeed
Hewlett-Packard has become a shell of the commanding tech company it once was. After today's decline, shares of the company closed below their reported book value, further exacerbating the market's general lack of faith in the company over the past few years. The big news that sent shares lower though wasn't really related to HP, though; it was the announcement that fellow Dow component Microsoft will be releasing its own tablet, called the Surface.

The positive reception for the tablet so far has to be a bit of salt in HP's wounds, as the company's TouchPad was an undeniable failure and quickly drowned in the wake of crazy-high Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) iPad sales. Though Microsoft's iteration bares more than just a passing resemblance to Apple's iPad, the device also has some unique features of its own, including a cover that doubles as a keyboard. Chances are it will take more than that to knock Apple off its perch, but features like that could still go a long way toward device legitimacy. It's an interesting march toward the hardware and software production model that's worked so well for apple. Though Microsoft has tried this in the past with some successes and some failures, it's never gone whole hog like Apple. This could be the first step in that transition.

Ronald keeps stumbling
Quintessential fast-food slinger McDonald's has taken it on the chin this year. After being the top Dow stock of 2011, shares have slid almost 11% so far this year. The big drag continues to be eurozone worries, where McDonald's collects 40% of its revenue. Despite still remaining enormously profitable there, same-store sales have missed estimates recently. I think both analysts and the market got ahead of themselves and expected a bit too much from the Golden Arches. The result has been a multiple retraction back down to attractive levels. I still consider McDonald's to be a top-grade stock, but don't expect another big run until the mess in Europe is sorted out. Consider this a prolonged buying opportunity for the patient investor.

Wal-Mart
Frankly, Wal-Mart's drop today doesn't seem to be fueled by anything in particular. It's a modest enough dip that we can probably chalk up to standard market fluctuation. It could just be investors taking some money off the table after a nice 8.6% rise in the past month. As a Wal-Mart bull, though, I'd recommend staying pat. The company still trades for a P/E of 14.5 after the run, pays a stellar dividend, and just announced its commitment toward more dividends in the future. I think this is an incredible buy-and-hold stock for any investor and wouldn't recommend parting with shares today.

The best way to play the Dow
As great as Wal-Mart's dividend is, though, it could still be better. That's why the world's largest retailer didn't make the cut for The 3 Dow Stocks Dividend Investors Need. You can learn about the companies that did by reading more. If you're still not convinced about the long-term power of dividends, consider that a portfolio of these three stocks over the past five years would have returned 34% while The Dow fell 6%. Don't worry: These three stocks will keep paying you for years to come.   

Austin Smith owns shares of McDonald's. The Fool owns shares of Apple and Microsoft. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of McDonald's, Microsoft, and Apple, creating a diagonal call position in Wal-Mart Stores, and creating bull call spread positions in Microsoft and Apple. 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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