Last Week's Worst Performing Dow Components

In a notable week in which the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) broke a six-day losing streak, the Nasdaq halted trading for a few hours, and some retailers saw massive moves after reporting earnings, the major indexes didn't perform all that terribly. The Dow lost 70 points, or 0.47% -- which should be seen as a victory after falling 344 points two weeks ago and 232 points three weeks ago. The blue-chip index now sits at 15,010, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq both posted gains for the week. The S&P rose 7.63 points, or 0.46%, while the Nasdaq increased by 55 points, or 1.52%.

Before we hit the Dow losers, let's look at this week's best-performing component. Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) saw its share price increase by 9.27% over the past five trading days, but the biggest single-day jump came on Friday, when the stock rose 7.29% after news broke that CEO Steve Ballmer will retire within the next 12 months. That comes as good news to many shareholders who have seen the value of Microsoft's stock stagnate over the past few years. Although Ballmer was one of Microsoft's first employees and has undoubtedly been good for the company at times, it's time for a new CEO and a new direction for the once largest company in the world.  

The big losers
Hewlett-Packard
(NYSE: HPQ  ) was easily the worst performing Dow component of the week, losing 15.21% of its value over the past five trading days. The stock traded lower for most of the week, but the big decline came on Thursday, following the company's earnings report after Wednesday's closing bell. HP reported weaker-than-expected results for the quarter, as nearly every business unit performed poorly. Even worse, CEO Meg Whitman told investors the company probably won't see revenue growth in 2014. That's the worst thing you can tell forward-looking markets, analysts, and investors.  

For the second week in a row, Home Depot (NYSE: HD  ) makes the list of the Dow's worst performers, but while the company was the second worst Dow stock two weeks ago, it was only the third worst this past week. As interest rates continue to rise and the housing report this past week indicated that July saw a massive fall-off in new home sales -- down from a revised June number of 455,000 to 394,000 in July, while analysts were expecting 485,000 after June's initial number was 497,000 -- shares of Home Depot didn't really have a chance this week. With weakening home sales, rising interest rates, and retailers telling us that consumers are feeling the squeeze from higher taxes and gasoline prices, investors are losing faith in the home-improvement store. Shares fell 4.55% two weeks ago and another 1.97% this past week.

And rounding out the bottom three was American Express (NYSE: AXP  ) , which lost 2.02% of its value despite being named the top credit card company by J.D. Power when it comes to customer satisfaction. The recent victory marks the seventh consecutive year in which American Express has won the award. In fact, there was very little negative news pertaining to the company this past week. Currently, the stock is trading just below its 52-week high and is up 28.13% year to date, so some investors may have been selling off a big winner before any negative news comes along to send the stock lower -- such as limits on credit card swipe fees, which both the U.S. government and the European Union are both looking into. If a limit was imposed, the credit card companies would stand to lose billions of dollars in revenue a year.

The other Dow losers this week:

(For more information on why shares of the other losers fell lower this past week, click on the links.)

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