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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. 

Uncharacteristically, Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) was the second major laggard in the index Monday. Shares fell 3.6% after reports emerged that the company ordered far fewer iPhone 5 component parts than expected for the quarter. A Bloomberg article alleges that about half of the 65 million iPhone 5 displays Apple was expected to order were placed. Fearing this could signal a disturbing drop in demand, Apple shares closed just above $500 apiece, the lowest level in 11 months. 

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%)

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Related Tickers

9/28/2016 4:00 PM
AAPL $113.95 Up +0.86 +0.76%
Apple CAPS Rating: ****
FSLR $39.08 Down -0.01 -0.03%
First Solar CAPS Rating: ***
S $6.78 Up +0.05 +0.74%
Sprint CAPS Rating: **