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A day before the unofficial start of the earnings season, markets pulled back, cashing in on some of the outsized gains seen last week after the fiscal cliff resolution. The S&P 500 Index (INDEX: ^GSPC ) fell 4.6 points, or 0.31%, on Monday. Although the day's losses hardly have an impact on the index's 14.4% gains in the past year, there were still a handful of notable laggards dragging the market down.
First Solar (Nasdaq: FSLR ) was the worst performer in the group of 500, falling 6.6%. Down 11% in the last year, the volatile solar module manufacturer entered into a licensing deal with Intermolecular (Nasdaq: IMI ) today, attempting to increase the efficiency of its products. The agreement was a sobering reminder that solar power still has quite a way to go before becoming market-competitive with more traditional energy sources.
Chip maker NVIDIA (Nasdaq: NVDA ) fell 2.9%, registering as another prominent decliner Monday. After presenting at the annual technology mecca, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), on Sunday, investors weren't impressed with the company's mobile application processor, the Tegra 4. With the explosive growth of mobile technology leading a paradigm shift in the way people use everyday gadgets, it's vital that NVIDIA understands and succeeds in this new market.
Struggling retailer J.C. Penney (NYSE: JCP ) also continued to underperform, shedding 3.2%. The stock price has plummeted in the last year, losing more than 40% of its value. Although J.C. Penney continues to struggle to keep up with consumer tastes, it's unlikely to make the same dramatic exit from public consciousness that beleaguered fellow retailer Sears (Nasdaq: SHLD ) , which was thrown out of the S&P 500 in August after failing to adhere to index float rules. Shares promptly declined 7% on the news.