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Last Week’s Dow Losers: International Business Machines Corp. (IBM), Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM)

While last week’s biggest loser, Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) managed to perform slightly better this week and lose the least-coveted title, it did still end the week lower than were it began. Shares dropped 0.48% after the company lost a lawsuit and was ordered to pay $285,000 to the plaintiff, as a federal court found that Merck had failed to warn doctors that a drug called Fosamax had possible side effects. While this penalty is small when compared with Merck’s overall position, there are more than 4,000 similar pending lawsuits that could pose a real threat to the company’s overall health.

Finally, we come to this week’s biggest Dow loser: Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) , whose shares fell 2.71% over the past five trading days. Last week, Pfizer was flirting with its 52-week high, but as investor fears of a correction grow stronger, companies trading close to their yearly highs are likely to experience a selloff as investors lock in their gains. This past week was actually relatively quiet for the company, other than the announcement that the FDA chose a competitor’s drug for an Alzheimer’s study. The big drug manufacturers will probably find themselves fighting uphill battles for the next few years as a number of blockbuster drugs fall off patent and the generic manufacturers begin eating market share.

More Foolish insight
Are you at ease, or nervous? It’s been a great five-year run for investors, with the Dow and S&P at or near all-time highs. Yet fears abound. When will the next downturn hit? Will political gridlock lead to portfolio-killing inflation? To learn how to protect your portfolio, click here for free guidance from the Motley Fool Pro Academy!

The article Last Week’s Dow Losers originally appeared on and is written by Matt Thalman.

Fool contributor Matt Thalman has no position in any stocks mentioned. Follow Matt on Twitter: @mthalman5513. The Motley Fool owns shares of IBM. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don’t all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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