3 Dow Drags

On a day when the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI  ) is up 238 points, or 1.83%, you may be wondering: Which stocks are down today? The good news is that as of 12:20 p.m. EDT, there isn't a single Dow component trading down for the day. The bad news is that three companies are down for the year by more than 6%, while the Dow is up more than 8.3%.

Three disappointments
With the Purchasing Managers' Index indicating that manufacturing is contracting, it's no wonder that Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT  ) is down by 6.39% for the year. Although construction of new homes has increased in 2012, equipment manufacturers like Caterpillar and competitor Joy Global took a big hit this week when coal miners Consol Energy (NYSE: CNX  ) and Peabody both decided to idle a few mines due to low global demand for the resource. Some of the coal mine industry closings in recent months can be explained by low natural-gas prices allowing power plants to switch energy sources and save some money. However, what should concern Caterpillar shareholders is that Consol shut down a major metallurgical coal mine due to falling prices. This type of coal is a main ingredient in steelmaking, which indicates that global demand for steel is also contracting.

Personal-computer maker Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  ) is down an astonishing 31% year to date. As the popularity of tablet computers and smartphones shows no signs of waning, it's no surprise that a personal-computer company isn't doing so hot. With the company recently hitting a 52-week low, investors may have not hit bottom yet. In an attempt to move toward the IT side of computing, HP acquired a very expensive Electronic Data Systems. This venture hasn't worked out as well as management had hoped, causing the company to make huge writedowns related to the purchase. Furthermore, the hope of the once PC king lies in the success of Microsoft's Windows 8 and HP's first tablet. It's rather scary when you don't have control of your own success.

Finally, the Golden Arches haven't looked quite so bright this year to investors of McDonald's (NYSE: MCD  ) . The stock is down 9.55% year to date due to slow global economic growth and disappointing same-store sales figures. And shares could continue to move lower in the coming months as food prices inch higher due to the drought in the Midwest, which will ultimately hurt margins. But Fool editor and analyst Austin Smith recently made a solid argument on why McDonald's is a great long-term investment now, even if share prices continue to fall.

Foolishly thinking
While Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard, and McDonald's currently are paying market-beating dividend yields, none of them made the list of "The 3 Dow Stocks Dividend Investors Need." Find out who did make the list today by clicking here.

Fool contributor Matt Thalman owns shares of Microsoft. The Motley Fool owns shares of Microsoft, McDonald's, and Joy Global. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of McDonald's and Microsoft. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a synthetic covered call position in Microsoft. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not 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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