Why These 3 Dow Stocks Plunged This Week

It wasn't exactly how the week was supposed to go; after the pro-bailout New Democracy party won parliamentary elections in Greece on Sunday, conventional wisdom was that the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI  ) was set to surge. But the Dow ended Monday essentially flat as investors realized there remained serious issues in the eurozone, perhaps chief among them Spain. Spanish 10-year bond rates rose above 7% early in the week, essentially the same level that forced Greece, Ireland, and Portugal to seek a bailout. That helped stoke increasing concern that Spain itself could be next in line for a bailout, in addition to the bailout for its banks that could cost up to $78 billion.

Domestically, many investors were left wanting more from the Federal Reserve, which announced after its meeting Wednesday that it will extend Operation Twist -- a program designed to lower long-term interest rates -- through the end of the year. But that wasn't enough stimulus for some, especially after the release of several dismal economic reports the next day. The Dow dropped to its second-worst loss of the year on Thursday, as domestic reports showed disappointing jobless claims and Philadelphia-area manufacturing data. Manufacturing data from Europe and China also came in worse than expected.

So while all these factors combined to drop the Dow by 1% this week, there were some stocks that fared much worse.

Company

Change This Week

Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  ) (5.9%)
Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG  ) (4.9%)
Chevron (NYSE: CVX  ) (3.7%)

HP was this week's big loser, dropping nearly 6%. Tech giant Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) announced Monday night that it had built its first computer ever -- a tablet called the Surface. It was built to compete with Apple's iPad, and it has a slightly bigger screen and offers a keyboard built into its cover. But HP investors are concerned that the Surface also turns Microsoft into a competitor. The tablet will run Windows 8, the same operating system that HP buys from Microsoft to use on its computers.

Procter & Gamble was another Dow stock that tanked this week. Shares fell hard on Wednesday after the company announced that it had cut its fourth-quarter revenue and earnings forecasts. It marked the second time Procter & Gamble has lowered its outlook in just the past three months. CEO Bob McDonald said the company remained committed to cutting $10 billion in costs by fiscal 2016.

Chevron rounds out the Dow's three biggest losers this week. Its sell-off this week was mostly due to the negative economic reports this week from around the world that have investors worried of a slowdown in the global economy that could stifle energy demand. Oil has now dropped nearly 25% in just the past two months.

With all the uncertainty surrounding Europe and the global economy, many investors may be tempted to take their money and run far from the market. But that can be one of the biggest mistakes investors can make. Some of the most successful stock picks are great dividend stocks purchased at attractive valuations on dips in the market. With that in mind, we've taken an in-depth look at all 30 Dow components and picked out our three favorite Dow dividend stocks that investors can buy right now. You can find the names and analysis of these companies in our brand-new free report, "The 3 Dow Stocks Dividend Investors Need." Read the report now -- it's absolutely free.

Brendan Byrnes owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of Microsoft and Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Procter & Gamble, Apple, Chevron, and Microsoft 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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