The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI ) is surging this afternoon. As of 12:30 p.m. EDT, the index sits at 13,589, up more than 151 points, or 1.13%. The index is up more than 11.24% year to date, and only one stock, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT ) , is trading in the red today. But other Dow components are lower for the year. Three of them are Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT ) , McDonald's (NYSE: MCD ) , and Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ ) .
So why are they down?
Microsoft is down by 0.75% following a report that Intel has delayed the delivery of software that will help conserve computer battery life. The program is needed in order for Microsoft to continue development of some of its Windows-based tablets. The delay comes at a time when Microsoft needs operations to run smoothly and quickly in order to gain market share and become a relevant player in tablet computing.
As tablets become more important to Microsoft, PC giant Hewlett-Packard has been left out of the party this year. The company has seen its stock slide more than 32% year to date. As more consumers move to mobile computing, PC sales have slipped not only in the U.S. and other developed nations, but also in emerging markets.
Caterpillar, meanwhile, has seen shares decline 4.48% this year. With uncertainty running amok in the U.S., the European debt crisis, and China's GDP slowdown, the heavy-machinery manufacturer has not been a friend to investors.
Finally, McDonald's has seen shares slide by 8% so far this year. The yellow arches have seen a slowdown in same-store sales growth this year, and further concerns over higher food prices as a result of the drought have been dragging the stock lower. The company is also facing tough comps from last year in the coming months. All these factors could mean a few more rough months for shareholders.
"Sell high, buy low" is one of the first things new investors are told. So on a day when the markets are moving higher, investors should be looking about what they could be selling, not buying. As for McDonald’s and Caterpillar, investors should hold strong and wait out these mild downturns. If you're still holding on to Hewlett-Packard, today may be a good time to start lowering your share count. The Dow is beating HP by more than 40% this year alone, and if the shift away from PC’s continues, things will only get worse.
Like HP, Microsoft has a number of opportunities and risks it will face in the future -- and investors need to know what they are before making any decisions. Get in the know today simply by clicking here.