Last Week’s Big Dow Losers: Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (WMT) and More

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (WMT)After starting the year off on a six-week winning streak, the Nasdaq finally posted a losing week in 2013. The index lost 0.05%, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished the week down 0.08% or 11, points and now sits at 13,981.

Although the Nasdaq broke its 2013 streak, the S&P 500 managed to keep its running into week No. 7. The S&P added another 1.89 points, or 0.12%, and now sits at 1,519 while it continues moving toward its all-time high of 1,565.

All the major U.S. indexes have been on quite the bullish run thus far in 2013, which gives the bears and pundits more ammunition for the argument that a pullback is coming. While I’m not sure if a complete market correction is in store for investors, what I do know is that a number of Dow stocks had their own corrections this week. Of the index’s 30 components, 13 of them ended the week in the red, and of those, six were down more than 1%.

But before I point out the Dow losers, let’s look at the week’s big winner. Shares of Alcoa Inc. (NYSE:AA) closed the week up 4.25%, with a large part of that gain happening on Thursday, after it was announced that through a middleman, Alcoa, and the Chinese government are now essentially partners. The quick story is that a Chinese state-owned enterprise, the CITIC Group, spent $467 million for a 13% stake in Australia’s Alumina. Alumina’s main asset is a 40% stake in a joint venture with Alcoa, called Alcoa World Aluminum & Chemicals.

In the short term, Alcoa may not see many benefits from this new partner, but in the long run it could be very beneficial if Alcoa and the Chinese government align their common interests.

The big losers
Shares of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) ended the week down more than 3%. On Thursday the company’s British arm, Asda, reported that it had found traces of horse DNA in products that were labeled as beef on its shelves. The company quickly removed those products, along with other items that came from the same supplier.

That was bad enough, but it didn’t compare with the damage that a supposed email from a Wal-Mart vice president would do to the stock on Friday. At roughly 2:00 p.m. ET, Bloomberg quoted the Wal-Mart executive saying in an email, “In case you haven’t seen a sales report these days, February MTD [month-to-date] sales are a total disaster.” Those few words helped the stock drop more than 2% on Friday alone.