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.
Last year was a great one for the markets, as the major indexes all moved dramatically higher, but the first few days of 2014 have been less than impressive. On Jan. 2, the year's first day of trading, the major indexes all lost in a big way. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) fell 135 points, or 0.81%, and the S&P 500 declined 16 points, or 0.86%, while the Nasdaq slid by 33 points, or 0.79%.
Those declines put the indexes into positions they couldn't climb out of on Friday, causing them all to end the week in the red. During this past week, the Dow lost 8.42 points, or 0.05%, while the S&P 500 lost 10.03 points, or 0.54%, and the Nasdaq lost 24.68 points, or 0.59%.
Before we review the Dow's biggest losers, let's take a moment to highlight its top performer, Disney (NYSE:DIS), whose shares rose 2.4% this past week, beating out the next best performer by a decent margin. One catalyst for the move was the report that Frozen brought in $28.8 million in ticket sales last weekend, good enough for second place in box office sales -- and that's after it's been in theaters for a month. Thar kind of showing may be a sign that Frozen could turn into the next big franchise for Disney to build on.
Last week's big losers
ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM) was the biggest Dow loser this past week. Shares lost 1.97% of their value, with most of the drop following a Thursday report from Bloomberg that the company plans to open operations in Russia. These new ventures mark a shift in the company's previous stance on Russia, which was to stay out after Vladimir Putin's government confiscated OAO Yukos Oil's assets. That was more than a decade ago, but some investors may fear it could happen again to Exxon.
The second worst finisher was Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG), which dropped every trading day and ended the week with a 1.9% loss. With interest rates moving higher, it's possible that investors who had switched to safe equities -- such as stable, dividend-paying blue chip P&G -- are moving back to bonds. This past week, the 10-year Treasury bond settled in at a 3% yield, while the 30-year T-bond rose to 3.93%. P&G currently yields 3%.
And coming in third was Verizon (NYSE:VZ), down 1.52%. The telecom giant lost most of its value on Friday, after AT&T announced that it will begin offering up to $450 to T-Mobile customers who switch to AT&T's Next plan and buy a phone at full retail price. The move has some observers believing that Verizon will need to make a similar offer or lose out on a potentially large amount of business. It's tough when the competition makes a move and you're essentially forced to follow suit, but that's where Verizon appears to find itself.
The other Dow losers this week:
- 3M, down 0.64%
- AT&T, down 1.08%
- Caterpillar, down 1.15%
- Chevron, down 0.7%
- Cisco, down 0.18%
- DuPont, down 0.73%
- General Electric, down 1.25%
- Johnson & Johnson, down 0.54%
- McDonald's, down 0.38%
- Merck, down 0.12%
- Microsoft, down 1.01%
- Nike, down 0.16%
- Pfizer, down 0.39%
- Coca-Cola, down 0.49%
- Travelers, down 0.76