Today's 3 Worst Stocks

Uninspiring earnings reports, and worries about the European economy, made Wall Street a bit jittery today. As a result, the S&P 500 Index (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC  ) sold off slightly, losing 2.7 points, or about 0.2%, to close at 1,509. Of course, those modest losses start to look appealing compared to what the S&P's three biggest losers gave up today.

Shares in Akamai Technologies (NASDAQ: AKAM  ) dropped like a rock Thursday, plunging 15.2%, after a very disappointing earnings report, where the company failed to meet revenue estimates, and guidance was below expected levels. The Cambridge-based company facilitates more rapid delivery of web content and, although shareholders have made money in the last one-, three-, and five-year periods, the stock is prone to sudden jumps and crashes. 

Today's second largest laggard was another tech company, Teradata (NYSE: TDC  ) , which also fell after its quarterly earnings announcement. Teradata's 7.1% stumble today exemplified a few of the counterintuitive aspects to the stock market. The first stems from the fact that the company is consistently ranked as a global leader in innovation and customer satisfaction for the services it provides. The second is that Teradata actually beat top- and bottom-line estimates today; all it took was a weaker revenue forecast than Wall Street expected to drive the stock down.

LSI (NASDAQ: LSI  ) rounds out the last of today's underperformers, posting losses of 4.1% on Thursday. The semiconductor company has had a worse 2013 thus far than the broader market, having taken a slight cut to its market cap, while the S&P has actually gained 5.8%. With worries about the growth in the semiconductor business, LSI will have to prove its worth by "showing investors the money" when its next earnings call comes around.

Are you at ease ... or nervous? It's been a great five-year run for investors, with the Dow and S&P at or near all-time highs. Yet, fears abound. When will the next downturn hit? Will political gridlock lead to portfolio-killing inflation? To learn how to protect your portfolio, click here for free guidance from the Motley Fool Pro Academy!


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