The Dow's 3 Biggest Losers

This morning's positive September jobs report carried the Dow (INDEX: ^DJI  ) to close in the black, up 0.26%. Not so for the broader-based S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC  ) , which gave up early gains to close essentially flat (down 0.03%.) The three worst-performing Dow stocks were:

Hewlett-Packard's (NYSE: HPQ  ) stock lost 1.41%, capping a tough week in which CEO Meg Whitman lowered guidance for the next fiscal year. H-P is a "broken" stock -- the company has disappointed investors too often, as the extent of their predicament became clear. I think one should assume the string of operational and earnings disappointments – and corresponding share price declines -- isn't over yet. This may be a good fit for turnaround/deep value investors, but only the patient need apply.

Speaking of patients, shares of health insurer UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH  ) lost close to a percentage-and-a-half today. News published after the close of the regular session that the health insurer is in talks to acquire part, or all, of Brazilian insurer and hospital insurer Amil Participacoes did nothing to lift the shares in the extended session. On paper, penetrating the Brazilian market makes sense, but investors may be concerned about UnitedHealth's ability to extract a decent return from the operation.

Bank of America's (NYSE: BAC  ) stock declined roughly 1% today. I suspect the loss may be due to profit taking. The shares gained over 3% yesterday and, at today's intraday high of $9.65, were up over 9% for the week, substantially outperforming its sector (and the broad market).  In his premium report published in July, Anand Chokkavelu, wrote that, "If Bank of America can wring even a fraction of historic value out of its current collection of assets and liabilities, there is a big opportunity here." (And the shares have soundly beaten the market and its peers since then.) In order to understand the opportunity, and to track it as it plays out with a year of updates, click here for Anand's report.

Fool contributor Alex Dumortier holds no position in any company mentioned. Click here to see his holdings and a short bio; you can follow him @longrunreturns. The Motley Fool owns shares of Bank of America. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of UnitedHealth Group. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a diagonal call position in UnitedHealth Group. 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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