Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over daily movements, we do like to keep an eye on market changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.
During the first week -- well, actually four days -- of the government shutdown, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) lost 185 points, or 1.21%. The S&P 500 declined by a much more modest 1.25 points, or 0.07%, while the Nasdaq actually moved higher by 26 points, or 0.69% last week. While there are many different theories and reasons why the Dow fell and the Nasdaq rose, investors need to remember that daily, or even weekly, moves should be taken with a grain of salt, and not looked at as reason to either buy or sell.
As for the government shutdown, we don't know how long it is going to last; we don't truly know how it will affect the economy; and we certainly don't know how fourth-quarter earnings reports will ultimately be affected. With that in mind, it's important to say that average investors shouldn't be looking at this event as a reason to dump their portfolios and turn to cash.
Before we jump into the big losers, let's spend a brief moment on the Dow's top stock of last week, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT). Shares of big softy rose 1.83% this past week. The main reason for the move came after reports that three of Microsoft's shareholders, who hold 5% of the company's stock, are pushing for Bill Gates to be removed from his position as Chairman of the Board. Some analysts agree that now would be a good time for Gates to step down, with Ballmer also walking out the door, because this would allow the company to make a fresh start. But others feel that losing Gates and Ballmer at the same time is too much of a leadership loss all at one time.
Last week's big losers
United Technologies (NYSE:UTX) fell 4.65% this past week, making it the Dow's top loser. This makes sense considering what's going on with the government, and where a large portion of the company's revenues come from. United Technologies has a number of different businesses and units that rely heavily on government defense contracts and federal employees for their operations. And while it's unlikely United Technologies is going to lose a contract with the Pentagon because the federal government is shut down now, the company is going to see a temporary slowdown of its business. Certainly, contracts from the Pentagon have slowed this past week, but with federal employees not working, inspectors aren't inspecting planes and -- in the case of United Technologies -- helicopters. United Tech's Sikorsky division, which builds Black Hawk helicopters, warned this past week that, with an extended government shutdown, the company will be hurt financially, because inspectors aren't reviewing the company's work. This means that Sikorsky will essentially have to shut down its assembly of the Black Hawk until those inspectors are back out inspecting in the field.
Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) lost 3.12% this week after an analyst at JPMorgan Chase reduced 2014 earnings expectations for the company by $0.06. JPMorgan still has a neutral rating on the stock, and a price target at $43, but the analyst has concerns about the yen affecting profits, because Japan represents 12% to 13% of Coke's operating profits. As usual, investors shouldn't become too concerned with one analyst's change, regardless of the reason. But in this case, there are a lot of variables that would ultimately affect the yen -- and Coke's earnings. At this time, I would say not to worry about this analyst's estimate downgrade.
The second worst-performing component of the week was Chevron (NYSE:CVX), which lost 3.67% during the past five trading sessions. The decline came despite a Federal Judge in Brazil dismissing a case in which the prosecutors were seeking upwards of $18 billion for an oil leak back in 2011. The case was dismissed after the company agreed to pay $150 million in damages, despite the fact that no one was hurt by the leak, and no oil ever touched the Brazilian shoreline. This amount of money is really a drop in the bucket for Chevron, but the settlement of the claim may set a new precedent for future spills, which could ultimately cost the company a lot more.
The other Dow losers this week:
(For more information on why shares of the other losers moved lower this past week, click on the links below.)
- 3M moved lower by 0.47%
- American Express dropped 2.08%
- AT&T ended the week in the red by 0.67%
- Boeing lost 1.29% of its value
- Cisco was cut down by 1.32%
- Du Pont declined 0.61%
- ExxonMobil fell by 0.66%
- Goldman Sachs dropped 2.06%
- Home Depot slid into the red by 0.23%
- Intel moved lower by 0.74%
- IBM slid lower by 1.5%
- McDonald's lost 2.49%
- Nike gave back 2.03%
- Procter & Gamble declined by 1.54%
- Travelers lost 0.85%
- Visa lost 1.33% of its value this week
- Walt-Mart dropped 2.09%
More foolish insight
Fool contributor Matt Thalman owns shares of Microsoft, JPMorgan Chase, Home Depot, and Intel. Check back Monday through Friday as Matt explains what caused the Dow's winners and losers of the day, and every Saturday for a weekly recap. Follow Matt on Twitter @mthalman5513.
The Motley Fool recommends 3M, American Express, Chevron, Cisco Systems, Coca-Cola, Goldman Sachs, Home Depot, Intel, McDonald's, Nike, Procter & Gamble, and Visa. The Motley Fool owns shares of Intel, International Business Machines, JPMorgan Chase, McDonald's, Microsoft, Nike, and Visa. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.