The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) rose just over 8% in the first six months of 2017, a much better showing than the first half of 2016, when the index finished down slightly.
Of the 30 stocks included in the index, 23 closed the first half with a gain. The leading gainer was Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA), up 27%, trailed by McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD), up 25.83%, and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL), up 24.35%.
The seven stocks that posted an overall loss for the quarter were a mixed bag: the DJIA’s two energy giants were among the losers, as were a telecom firm and a conglomerate.
Here’s a look at the seven Dow stocks that posted a loss in the first half.
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) was the biggest loser over the first two quarters of the year, down 16.34%, closing Friday at $44.66, in a 52-week range of $44.36 to $56.95. The low was posted Friday too, not a good sign for the future. Verizon announced an unlimited data plan in late February, joining the other three major wireless carriers in a race to the bottom. None of the four posted a first-half stock price gain.
General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) saw its share price drop by 14.53% during the first half of the year. The stock closed at $27.01 on Friday, in a 52-week range of $26.79 to $33.00. CEO Jeff Immelt is stepping down after 16 years at the tiller, and one has to suppose that the poor share price performance is partly the reason. During his tenure, the company shed its NBC Universal division and its financial business in an effort to focus on its industrial goods. Over the past five years, GE stock has added nearly 30%, but that is less than half the gain in the DJIA overall.
Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) shares have declined by 11.36% in the first half of the year and the issue is crude oil prices. The price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil has fallen from $55.84 at the beginning of the year to $46.33 as of Friday’s close, a drop of 17%. At its low in mid-June, the price was $42.53, a drop of nearly 24%. Investors are not sure that Chevron will be able to maintain its dividend yield, currently at 4.14%, unless prices rise enough to create improved profits. Shares closed Friday at $104.33. They have changed hands between $97.53 and $119.00 in the past year.
Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) has dropped 10.56% from its share price since the beginning of the year. The stock closed Friday at $80.73, in a 52-week range of $79.26 to $95.55. Analysts took aim at Exxon in January, cutting both price targets and ratings. By late February, when the oil and gas giant lowered its proved reserves total from 24.3 billion barrels to around 20 billion, the tone for the year had already been set. Since that announcement, the stock has done no more than bounce around the $80 level.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) is the most heavily weighted stock among the Dow 30, making up 7.12% of the index total. In January the bank’s weighting was 8.03%. Shares have dropped 7.33% since the beginning of the year, closing at $221.90 on Friday, in a 52-week range of $142.62 to $255.15. Goldman stock added 40% to its share price following the November election, primarily on the basis of an expected easing of regulations on financial institutions and a significant tax cut under the new administration. Neither has yet materialized. The firm’s analysts also remained bullish for too long on crude oil and other commodity prices, dampening first-quarter profits and threatening to weigh on second-quarter earnings as well.
International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) shares have also dropped 7.33% since the beginning of the year and closed Friday $153.83, in a 52-week range of $147.79 to $182.79. IBM stock is the fifth-most heavily weighted in the DJIA, making up 4.93% of the index. It’s also worth noting that the stock rose from $165.99 to its 52-week high by the first of March before beginning its four-month dive to near its 52-week low set last October. Warren Buffett sold a portion of his stake in the company after holding on to it for years, saying, “I’ve revalued it somewhat downward.” Ouch.
Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) stock has lost 6.98% of its value to date in 2017. Shares closed Friday at $33.74, in a 52-week range of $32.38 to $38.45. It is one of the lowest weighted stocks in the DJIA, currently accounting for just 1.08% of the index’s value (GE is the lowest weighted at just 0.87% of the index total). The story on Intel is that it missed the mobile revolution and its prospects in the artificial intelligence and Internet of Things revolutions are being challenged by the likes of NVIDIA and AMD.