Wow! What a quarter. All three major indexes came out swinging and had impressive gains marked by surprisingly little volatility. Given the seemingly daily questions regarding Greece defaulting (technically yes), the domestic economy finally recovering (a strong maybe), and Linsanity's sustainability (resoundingly on hold), what we've seen is astonishing.
With that in mind, let's take a closer look at how the major indexes closed the first quarter and then take a closer look at three Dow components whose underwater performance over the past several months muted the index's broader returns.
Gain / Loss
Gain / Loss %
Dow Jones Industrial Average
Source: Yahoo! Finance.
These are historical returns. The Nasdaq saw its best performance since 1991. That's right; not even the go-go dot-com boom of the late '90s that propelled the index above 4,500 saw a three-month stretch that topped the opening quarter of 2012. Not to be left out of the record books, the Dow and S&P 500 both notched their largest percentage gains since 1998 and their largest first-quarter points gains since, well, ever. The average Dow component turned in a gain of 11.2%, but several companies fared significantly worse.
So which companies were responsible for dragging down the Dow in 2012? It's actually a fairly diverse group that includes a telecom, an embattled tech legend, and a fast-food icon. Let's tackle the worst performer first.
Fast-food purveyor McDonald's
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David Williamson holds no position in any company mentioned. Check out his holdings and a short bio. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of McDonald's. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.