Dow’s Decline Highlights Index’s Flaws

ETF Trends

The SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (DIA) , the tracking ETF for the 30-stock blue chip index, was down almost 4.3% this year heading into the start of trading Thursday.

That will happen when, according to ConvergEx Group, just one of 30 stocks, Merck (MRK), is higher on the year. And with one stock accounting for 10% of DIA’s decline this year, it is worth remembering that the Dow’s price-weighted methodology leaves something to be desired in the modern investing world. [Time to Worry About the Dow ETF]

The single biggest contributor to the Dow’s decline is Goldman Sachs, with 84 points of the 838 downdraft.  Its lead position comes from high price ($163.90) and tough year to date performance – down 7.5%, worse than the index overall.  That’s how you get one name of 30 responsible for 10% of the total decline,” said Nicholas Colas, chief market strategist at ConvergEx Group, a global brokerage company based in New York, in a note out today.

“The top five names in terms of downside point contribution, in addition to GS, are IBM (70 points), 3M (62), Chevron (56) and Travelers (51).  It total those five names comprise just over a third of the Dow’s entire move lower, at 323 of the 838 point pullback,” added Colas.

IBM (IBM), Goldman, 3M (MMM) and Chevron (CVX) are four of DIA’s top six holdings, combining for almost a quarter of the ETF’s weight.

3M is not the only big-name industrial stock weighing on DIA this year. Shares of Boeing (BA), DIA’s fourth-largest holding, were off 5% year-to-date at the start of trading today. Industrials were the best performing sector in the Dow last year and Boeing was the biggest contributor to the index’s 2013 gain. [Dow Jones Industrial Average 2013 in Review]

In an interesting though frustrating tidbit for holders of DIA, Colas noted that the Dow’s newest additions – Goldman, Visa (NYSE: V) and Nike (NKE) are all lower this year. By our calculations, those three stocks were lower by an average of 6.2% at the start of trading Thursday.

Alcoa (AA), Bank of America (BAC) and Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), the Dow’s most recent versions of Hester Prynne, are solidly higher to start 2014. Trading in the $20s, Cisco (CSCO), Intel (INTC) and General Electric (GE) could be the next stocks to be tossed from DIA.

SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF

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ETF Trends editorial team contributed to this post. Tom Lydon’s clients own shares of GE and Intel.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.

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