Also on Friday, the preliminary University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment index was released. Economists were expecting a reading of 78, after February came in at 77.6, but unexpectedly the reading fell to 71.8. The lower numbers mean U.S. consumers are less confident about the economy, the jobs market, and their own job security than they were just a few weeks ago. Typically when sentiment is low, consumers tighten their belts and spend less money, which ultimately hurts retailers across the board, which is probably what caused shares of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) to fall on Friday.
But some argue that when the economy gets bad, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) actually performers better, because more consumers trade down and want those “always low” prices.
Elsewhere, it was reported earlier this week that Chinese authorities are investigating The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO) employees over the possibility that they improperly used GPS devices. Coke has announced that it is cooperating with authorities and has stated that some of its delivery trucks use technology that’s widely available in China to improve delivery efficiencies. Different mapping technologies have been deemed illegal in China because of “national security concerns.”
But even though shares of Coca-Cola lost 0.99% during the week, one analyst believes the company’s future still looks good. On Thursday, the brokerage house CLSA increased its price target on Coca-Cola from $40 per share to $43 and changed the stock’s rating from “underperform” to “outperform,” in part because the analyst believes that through Coke’s relentless marketing and branding campaigns over the past few years, the soft drink king now clearly has the upper hand in its battle against PepsiCo, Inc. (NYSE:PEP).
Other Dow losers this week were The Procter & Gamble Company (NYSE:PG), which closed lower by 0.99%; JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM), down 0.35%; Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC); down 0.92%, Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE), down 0.6%; General Electric Company (NYSE:GE), down 1.38%; and AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T), down 0.68%. Home Depot became the Dow’s worst performer of the week, as shares of the do-it-yourself hardware-store chain fell 3.25%.
The article Last Week’s Big Dow Losers originally appeared on Fool.com and is written by Matt Thalman.
Check back Monday through Friday as Matt explains what caused the Dow’s winners and losers of the day, and every Saturday for a weekly recap. Follow Matt on Twitter: @mthalman5513.Fool contributor Matt Thalman owns shares of JPMorgan Chase. The Motley Fool recommends Coca-Cola, Home Depot, Intel, PepsiCo, and Procter & Gamble and owns shares of General Electric, Intel, JPMorgan Chase, and PepsiCo.
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