The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) is off to a rough start in 2014. The blue-chip market index is down 124 points, or 0.75%, just before 2 p.m. EST, and only two of its 30 tickers are trading up.
I'm just here to remind you that the Dow ended 2013 on a tremendous high note. The index itself set another new all-time high on New Year's Eve, with a record-level closing price to boot. Fourteen of the 30 Dow Jones tickers ended the year within 1% of their 52-week highs. No, that's not a typo.
Only two Dow members rang in 2014 more than 10% below their yearly highs. They had their reasons. IBM (NYSE:IBM) closed out 2013 some 13% below 52-week highs set in March, as Big Blue's strategy shift under new leadership took a toll on top-line sales. Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO) retreated 15% from an August high due to soft 2014 guidance in August that deteriorated to catastrophic in November.
These two tech giants were by far the worst performers on the Dow in 2013. The other 28 tickers sit within shouting distance of 52-week and often all-time highs. In some cases, it's more of a whisper than a shout.
So don't let one slow day at the start of 2014 scare you away from the Dow. It's still a great collection of elite businesses paired with equally strong stocks, and a fine starting point for finding the best investment ideas on the market.
Even IBM and Cisco deserve your attention -- both companies have interesting and transformative long-term visions in place, and the Dogs of the Dow in one year often bounce back to beat the market in the next.
Patience is a virtue, young grasshopper.
Fool contributor Anders Bylund has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Cisco Systems. The Motley Fool owns shares of International Business Machines. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.