Who's more powerful: Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) or Ben Bernanke? Today the markets answered with a resounding "Apple," as the benchmark S&P 500 Index (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) fell along with Apple, despite some encouraging comments from Bernanke earlier in the day. The Federal Reserve chairman hinted in a speech early Monday that he thought the central bank's bond-buying strategy would continue through the near future. The S&P 500 stubbornly responded by losing 1.4 points, or about 0.1%, to close at 1,470.

Three S&P 500 stocks in particular were distinctly unpopular today. First, shares in telecom giant Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) got hammered, losing 3.9% after investment bank UBS cut its rating on the stock. Emphasizing the new "neutral" outlook (the stock had formerly carried a "buy" rating), analysts said they expect lower fourth-quarter profitability this year from Sprint. 

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First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR), which started building its Campo Verde Solar project Jan. 10 in Imperial County, Calif., also recently bought a company called Solar Chile, signaling the company's move into subsidy-free markets. These large financial commitments may have spooked First Solar investors. The company has lost money in the trailing 12 months, and today's 2.5% decline could be a sign that meaningful profits will also be hard to come by moving forward. {%sfr%)

John Divine owns shares of Apple. You can follow him on Twitter, @divinebizkid, and on Motley Fool CAPS, @TMFDivine.

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