Hewlett-Packard Company (HPQ), Caterpillar Inc. (CAT), Cisco Systems, Inc. (CSCO): Last Week’s Big Dow Losers

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After another wild week, which started as investors worried about the possible collapse of certain European financial intuitions, the Dow Jones Industrial Average‘s managed to fight its way back to almost even on Friday, and close down just 2 points, or 0.01%, for the past five trading sessions. The other major indexes performed slightly worse for the week, as the S&P 500 lost 3.81 points, or 0.24%, while the Nasdaq fell by 4 points, or 0.12%.

As the Dow closed flat for the week, its 30 components were split down the middle, with 15 moving higher and 15 losing ground last week.

Before we hit the Dow losers, let’s look at the index’s big winner of the week: Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) has been on fire in 2013, and that trend continued this past week, as shares rose another 3.87%. Year to date, the stock is up an astonishing 61.68%, while the Dow itself has risen only 10.74%. Meg Whitman is clearly handling the company’s turnaround very well, and there are no signs that things should change in the future.

One possible negative for Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) this past week was that shareholders re-elected all of the company’s board members on Thursday. A number of activist investors and shareholder-rights groups had voiced their opinions that the board members, who were involved in the acquisition of Autonomy, should be removed from their position. The Autonomy purchase cost the company more than $10 billion, and recently Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) decided to write down more than $8 billion of the purchase price.

The big losers
Shares of Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE:CAT) continue to fall on a weekly basis, and after losing 1.52% this past week, the stock has now dropped for the past seven straight weeks. The main culprit for the decline this week was the company’s sales report for the past three months. Caterpillar is one company that reports its sales on a monthly basis to investors, and the report for the rolling three months ending in February was very concerning. Sales fell by 13% in that time frame, compared with a decline of only 4% for the previous three month period which ended in January. Sales in the Asia-Pacific market dropped 26%, making that region of the world Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE:CAT)’s worst-performing market for the February reading.

Shares of Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO), meanwhile, dropped nearly 4% on Thursday alone, and they closed the week down 5.33%. The networking technology stock ended the week as the worst Dow component after its closest competitor reported weak demand. Oracle Corporation (NASDAQ:ORCL) reported earnings on Wednesday evening and announced that it was experiencing a lack of demand in nearly every one of its operating segments.

Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO) was also downgraded by a few Wall Street analysts this week, which certainly helped push shares lower. One downgrade came from FBR Capital, and my Fool colleague Rich Smith recently dug into the rating downgrade and gave his opinion on what investors should do with Cisco moving forward.

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