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.
Despite some big intraday swings last week for the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) and the rest of the market, Friday came along and saved the week, as the Dow gained back its losses from the day before, adding 168 points and finishing the week up 146 points, or 0.93%. One reason for the great Friday was the October jobs number from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which showed that 204,000 new positions had been created during the month, compared with the 125,000 economists had been expecting. The bureau also revised August and September's numbers higher by a combined 60,000.
That news also helped the S&P 500 gain 0.5%. But it wasn't enough to save the Nasdaq, which ended the week down 0.07%.
Before we jump into the Dow's big losers, let's review the big winner. Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) stock climbed after news broke that the company had created a short list of possible candidates to take over the CEO role when Steve Ballmer steps down sometime in the coming months. One name mentioned was Ford CEO Alan Mulally. Another was former Nokia COO Stephen Elop, who, once Microsoft's acquisition of Nokia's handset division closes, will be employed by Microsoft regardless of whether he gets the CEO spot. It's difficult to say who will win the job and whether that person will even want the job, so investors should sit tight for now.
Last week's big losers
Shares of Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) fell 0.94% over the past five trading sessions, making it the third worst performing Dow component. That seem like a big deal, but the stock went ex-dividend on Tuesday, reducing the price by $0.225, which is nearly the whole $0.23 the stock declined by this past week. However, Intel's performance for the year lags the Dow's, as investors lack the confidence that Intel can gain substantial market share in the mobile-chip market.
The runner-up for top loser of the week was Home Depot (NYSE:HD), whose shares declined 1.96%. The move comes as interest rates again began to rise this past week, with investors fearing that the strong jobs number may push the Federal Reserve to begin tapering sooner than previously expected. Home Depot also dealt this week with bit of a PR nightmare this week, after a Tweet regarded as racially insensitive was sent from the company's account. While the company acted quickly to remove the Tweet and has already fired those involved in posting the message, we won't know for a while if Home Depot will experience any long-term backlash. Investors should keep an eye out during the coming quarter.
Finally, the biggest loser within the Dow this past week was AT&T (NYSE:T), as shares declined 2.95%. While rising interest rates may have had an effect on the Dow's highest-yielding stock this week, news that the company is receiving money from the U.S. government in exchange for giving it information on international phone data. On Thursday, shares fell 1.98% after the news hit. Americans take their privacy seriously, and if they think AT&T is turning over their information, they may choose to defect and take their business to a different carrier, even though there's a reasonable chance that if one telecom provider is doing this, others are as well. But before investors jump ship, it may be best to wait for a while to see whether cancellations and defections actually do increase over the next few quarters.
The other Dow losers this week:
- American Express, down 0.35%
- McDonald's, down 0.23%
- Verizon, down 0.57%
- Visa, down 0.43%
- Walt Disney, down 0.94%
Fool contributor Matt Thalman owns shares of Ford, Home Depot, Microsoft, Walt Disney, and Intel. Check back Monday through Friday as Matt explains what caused the big winners and losers of the day, and every Saturday for a weekly recap. Follow Matt on Twitter: @mthalman5513.
The Motley Fool recommends American Express, Ford, Home Depot, Intel, McDonald's, Visa, and Walt Disney and owns shares of Intel, McDonald's, Microsoft, Visa, and Walt Disney. 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.