Buoyed by a relatively strong beginning to the quarterly earnings season, the S&P 500 Index (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC ) registered a 3.9-point gain today, advancing 0.27% to close at 1,461. The rise was the first of the week for the benchmark index of American industry, which fell slightly Monday and Tuesday after rallying in the first week of the New Year.
Despite the general rising tide, some stocks stubbornly refused to take part in any bullishness. Epitomizing this group on Wednesday was Apollo Group (NASDAQ: APOL ) , the education company behind the online school The University of Phoenix. Falling nearly 8% on worries about its accreditation status, the company has seen its shares crushed by 66% in the past year.
Money-transfer giant Western Union (NYSE: WU ) was also among the biggest laggards in the index today, falling 2.3%. Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS ) downgraded the stock from "neutral" to "sell," as the investment bank expressed concerns over declining margins that Western Union hinted at in its last earnings call.
Joining the onslaught of losers in what seems to be a theme of sorts, R.R. Donnelley's stock has also suffered mightily in the past year, falling about 40%. Part of the reason for its steep decline was the unfathomable mishandling of Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG ) disappointing third-quarter results, which were released several hours ahead of schedule and immediately dinged the search giant's market cap to the tune of $26 billion. GameStop's fall, however, was a continuation of a slide that began yesterday after the video-game retailer forecast bleaker-than-expected holiday sales.