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The fact that the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) is currently down by a negligible 15 points, or 0.11%, is far from indicative of three of its components' woes today.
Shares of Intel (NASDAQ: INTC ) are getting absolutely slammed, down more than 6% in midday trading, after the chip maker reported downright abysmal sales figures for the fourth quarter. In a three-month period that's typically its strongest, sales for the company fell by 3% from the year-earlier period and profits declined by a staggering 27%.
The results are due largely to the suffering personal-computer market, which experienced a rare sales decline in 2012 as tablets encroached on their territory. Revenue from Intel's PC client group, which accounts for roughly two-thirds of the company's overall sales, declined by 6%. And to make matters worse, the company forecast a further 6% decline in the current quarter.
In an effort to stem the tide, Intel promulgated designs for a tablet-PC hybrid known as the Ultrabook. According to Intel's outgoing CEO Paul Otellini, "It's no longer necessary to choose between a PC and a tablet." Whether or not this is true remains to be seen.
Beyond Intel, the second-worst-performing stock on the Dow is American Express (NYSE: AXP ) . Yesterday, the company said that its profit for the fourth quarter fell to $637 million, down from $1.19 billion in the fourth quarter of last year.
While loans increased at the credit card company on a year-over-year basis, its bottom line was hit by a number of charges. Among other things, it loan loss provisions for the quarter rose to $638 million from $409 million in the fourth quarter of 2011. In addition, the company recorded a multimillion-dollar charge related to its decision to cut 5,400 jobs this year in its travel-services business.
Rounding out the top three worst-performing stocks on the Dow today is Bank of America (NYSE: BAC ) , the nation's second-largest bank by assets. Like Intel and American Express, B of A's woes are related to its earnings release.
For the three months ended Dec. 31, B of A earned a mere $732 million, well south of the roughly $2 billion it earned in the final quarter of 2011. The otherwise disappointing performance resulted from two massive charge-offs to settle legal disputes dating back to the financial crisis. Without those, as I noted elsewhere, it would have been an altogether positive quarter.
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