Last Week's Worst Performing Dow Stocks

An in-depth look at what caused a few stocks to fall.

Mar 15, 2014 at 5:00PM
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This past week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) lost ground every single day and ended up losing 384 points, or 2.33%. The S&P 500 fell 35 points, or 1.88%, while the Nasdaq lost 85 points, or 1.96%. Weaker-than-expected economic reports dampened the market's enthusiasm, as did continued tensions in Russia and Ukraine. For more about the economic reports that moved the indexes, click here.

Before we get to the Dow's biggest losers of the week, let's look at its biggest winner. McDonald's (NYSE:MCD), up 2.17%, was one of just two Dow stocks that finished in the black -- the other being Procter & Gamble, up 0.76%. Most of the rise at McDonald's came after Tuesday's announcement that management is looking at ways to return more cash to shareholders, including possibly selling locations to franchises, better optimizing its cash structure, and even taking on debt to fund share buybacks. McDonald's is $100 billion company and over the past three years has returned more than $16.5 billion to investors. That's not bad, but investors certainly let management know this week that more would be better. On the other hand, with the company struggling to grow sales, this may be the only option management has at its disposal to push shares higher, and that doesn't equate to a great investment strategy.  

Last week's big losers
Shares of United Technologies (NYSE:UTX) fell 4.82% this past week, making the stock the second worst Dow performer. United Tech's big decline came mostly following Thursday's first-quarter profit forecast that came in below analysts' targets. Management expects sales of $14.5 billion and earnings per share of $1.25, versus the Street's outlook of $14.9 billion and $1.38. United Technologies said a few one-time charges would hurt earnings and that, excluding those charges, Q1 EPS would rise 5%. But that didn't matter, because regardless of what could be, investors don't like hearing about declining numbers.  

Finally, the top two Dow stocks from two weeks ago -- Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) and JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) -- ended up claiming two of the Dow's three worst spots this time around. Goldman Sachs fell 5.11%, while JPMorgan lost 4.37%. Two things were probably weighing on investors' minds: softening weekly mortgage numbers, and Deutsche Bank's announcement that the start of its year has been slow. The mortgage figures pointed to a softening industry that's typically very profitable for banks, and it comes at a bad time, considering Deutsche Bank's statement follows previous indications from JPMorgan and Citigroup indicating that 2014 hasn't been a good year for the bankers. I wouldn't say we're back in 2007-2008 all over again, but I would expect upcoming earnings reports to be disappointing.   

The other Dow losers this week:

  • 3M, down 3.19%
  • American Express, down 3.93%
  • AT&T, down 0.15%
  • Boeing, down 4.22%
  • Caterpillar, down 1.71%
  • Chevron, down 0.85%
  • Cisco, down 1.74%
  • DuPont, down 2.18%
  • ExxonMobil, down 1.6%
  • General Electric, down 3.9%
  • Home Depot, down 3.84%
  • Intel, down 0.56%
  • IBM, down 2.91%
  • Johnson & Johnson, down 0.54%
  • Merck, down 3.08%
  • Microsoft, down 0.52%
  • Nike, down 1.43%
  • Pfizer, down 3.7%
  • Coca-Cola, down 0.98%
  • Travelers, down 1.51%
  • UnitedHealth Group, down 2.19%
  • Verizon, down 2.26%
  • Visa, down 2.12%
  • Wal-Mart, down 0.4%
  • Walt Disney, down 2.6%

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Matt Thalman owns shares of, Coca-Cola, Home Depot, Intel, Johnson & Johnson, JPMorgan Chase, Microsoft, Procter & Gamble, and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool recommends 3M,, American Express, Chevron, Cisco Systems, Coca-Cola, Goldman Sachs, Home Depot, Intel, Johnson & Johnson, McDonald's, Netflix, Nike, Procter & Gamble, UnitedHealth Group, Visa, and Walt Disney; owns shares of, Citigroup, Coca-Cola, General Electric, Intel, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, JPMorgan Chase, McDonald's, Microsoft, Netflix, Nike, Visa, and Walt Disney; and has options on Coca-Cola. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't 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.

A Financial Plan on an Index Card

Keeping it simple.

Aug 7, 2015 at 11:26AM

Two years ago, University of Chicago professor Harold Pollack wrote his entire financial plan on an index card.

It blew up. People loved the idea. Financial advice is often intentionally complicated. Obscurity lets advisors charge higher fees. But the most important parts are painfully simple. Here's how Pollack put it:

The card came out of chat I had regarding what I view as the financial industry's basic dilemma: The best investment advice fits on an index card. A commenter asked for the actual index card. Although I was originally speaking in metaphor, I grabbed a pen and one of my daughter's note cards, scribbled this out in maybe three minutes, snapped a picture with my iPhone, and the rest was history.

More advisors and investors caught onto the idea and started writing their own financial plans on a single index card.

I love the exercise, because it makes you think about what's important and forces you to be succinct.

So, here's my index-card financial plan:


Everything else is details. 

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