The year has just three months left to go, and barring a last-quarter meltdown for the markets, it looks like it's going to be a good year for investors. The Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI) have posted gains of more than 15%, holding on to substantial rises in the early part of the year despite increasing challenges on many fronts during the spring and summer months.
Even though the Dow has performed well, though, some of its components haven't been nearly as fortunate. Let's take a closer look at the Dow's worst performers during the first nine months of 2013.
Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT), down 6%
Caterpillar has been the worst-performing stock in the Dow so far this year, as the heavy-equipment maker has faced new challenges on top of some of the problems it has had to deal with for a long time. On top of the sluggishness in the construction and infrastructure industries worldwide, the plunge in commodities like precious metals have crushed the mining sector, hurting prospects for Caterpillar's sales of mining equipment. With multiple reductions to its guidance and recent layoff announcements, Caterpillar could have further to fall before it hits bottom.
IBM (NYSE: IBM), down 2%
IBM's woes have come from concerns about the tech giant's ability to sustain its revenue levels. The company reported sales declines in both of its first two quarterly reports for 2013, and despite raising its guidance for the remainder of the year in its June-quarter results, IBM remains troubled by extremely tough competition in the increasingly popular big data arena. Even though IBM still has one of the most valuable brands in the world, it nevertheless needs to turn its sales slump around in order