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.
Another week, and more all-time highs on both the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) and the S&P 500. The Dow set a new record high closing price on four of the last five trading sessions, while the broader index set a new record during three of the past five sessions. Furthermore after gaining 1.26%, or 199 points, last week, the Dow now sits at 15,961, while the S&P 500 increased by 1.55% and now rests at 1,798. The Nasdaq also had a strong weer, rising 1.7% to move into the weekend at 3,985.
All of the major indexes are now just a few points below some major milestones. The Dow is about to cross the 16,000 mark, the S&P 500 will move into the 1,800 range, and the Nasdaq will soon surely break above 4,000. It will be interesting to see next week whether the markets experience resistance at these levels or if the indexes blow right through these thresholds.
Before we jump into the Dow's big losers of the week, let's take a moment to look at the Dow's top stock of last week: Home Depot (NYSE:HD). Shares rose 6.2% over the past five trading sessions after the stock fell 1.96% during the previous five trading sessions. Home Depot went from being the second worst stock of the week to the best overall, simply on the belief that Janet Yellen, the heir apparent to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, will keep interest rates low for an extended period of time. That should help the housing market and thus boost revenues and profits even further for the home-improvement retailer.
Last week's big losers
Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) was this past week's worst performing Dow component by a long shot, as shares fell 8.37%. The massive fall comes after the company reported earnings, which came in higher than expected but on lower revenue than what Wall Street wanted to see. Furthermore, Cisco's management team announced that revenue during the current quarter will probably be down 8% to 10% compared with the results reported during the same time frame last year. Cisco's fiscal Q2 2013 sales came in at $12.09 billion, so a 10% drop in revenue would mean a reduction by $1.2 billion. Investors usually don't like seeing revenue growth slowing, let alone declining -- and certainly never by that amount. But long term-oriented investors should keep an eye on Cisco during the coming months to see whether this revenue decline is just temporary or the new normal.
Shares of Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) lost 0.59% last week, making it the third worst performing Dow component. A number of negatives hit the stock this week, including the announcement that the company will shut down another plant this year, this time the one in Pulaski, Va., that makes coal haulers. The company has seen demand for coal and other mining-related equipment slow in recent times as natural gas takes the place of the black rock, and low commodity prices are also slowing the demand for metals in different regions throughout the world. Another cause of Caterpillar's drop may have been the report that General Electric is trying to steal Cat's market share in rig-drilling units, as the company is now promoting natural gas power engines for the rigs, as opposed to Caterpillar's diesel engines. We don't know whether Caterpillar will win or lose this battle, but it's a great example of how the competition never lets Cat relax, even just for a moment.
And lastly, Chevron (NYSE:CVX) moved lower by 0.93%, which was enough to make it the Dow's second worst stock of the previous week. It didn't help that the Ecuador's high court slapped the company with an $8.8 billion fine for spilling oil in the Amazon between 1972 and 1990. The penalty comes after Chevron was originally charged with the fine back in 2011, but when it refused to publicly apologize, the penalty was doubled. Just this week, the Ecuadorian court reduced the fine by half, back to $8.8 billion, which Chevron will now be responsible for. That's a large amount, but as long as the company doesn't continue to see billion-dollar fines, Chevron should survive this incident.
The other Dow loser this week:
- McDonald's, down 0.23% (follow the link for more)
Fool contributor Matt Thalman owns shares of Home Depot. 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 Chevron, Cisco Systems, Home Depot, and McDonald's and owns shares of General Electric and McDonald's. 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.