On the bright side, it now seems almost assured that Greece will receive its next round of bailout funding and avoid a near-term, disorderly default. That's not to say that investors are settled about that heavily indebted country or the struggling eurozone as a whole, but it appears to at least be a step in the right direction. Meanwhile, in the United States, economic signals continue to be mixed, as January durable-goods orders posted a surprisingly large drop, while consumer confidence is showing some relative strength.
Throw that all together, and we ended up with a week where the S&P 500 index was up yet again but other indexes were stuck in neutral. The Dow Jones Industrial Average
The 3 Worst-Performing Sectors
Russell 3000 Sector
Weekly Price Change
Month-to-Date Price Change
Source: S&P Capital IQ. Weekly price change is Feb. 24-March 2. Monthly price change is Feb. 29-March 2.
By all appearances, the fourth-quarter earnings release for Vocus
The 3 Worst-Performing Russell 3000 Companies
Weekly Price Change
Source: S&P Capital IQ. Weekly price change is Feb. 24-March 2. Includes only companies with market caps of $250 million or more.
Also among the week's worst performers were Dendreon
Turning to National Presto, there's a good portion of the past week's drop that isn't bad news. Specifically, the company, which has been known in recent years for paying a hefty special dividend, went ex-dividend this week on a $1-per-share regular dividend and a $5 special dividend. Unfortunately for shareholders, the decline in the stock wasn't confined to that $6 tally. While there wasn't any news out specifically, what we may have seen were some investors sticking around for the dividend before bailing. The past year was a challenging one for the company, and its dividend was a good deal smaller than the prior year's, so some investors may have decided to move on.
That's it for the weekly laggards recap. Looking to turn the tides and find some strong outperformers in the year ahead? The Motley Fool has created a brand new free report titled "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2012." In it, my fellow Fools reveal a top pick that's poised for explosive growth ahead. Get instant access -- it's free.
The Motley Fool owns shares of Dendreon and National Presto Industries. 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.
Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer owns shares of National Presto but has nofinancial interest in any of the other companies mentioned. You can check out what Matt is keeping an eye on by visiting his CAPS portfolio, or you can follow Matt on Twitter, @KoppTheFool, or on Facebook. The Fool's disclosure policy prefers dividends over a sharp stick in the eye.