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There's no other way to put it: The S&P 500 Index (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC ) had a great day on Wednesday. Adding nearly 1.3%, or 19 points, the index closed at 1,516, and has risen nearly 11% in the past year alone. Alas, the following three companies were some of the biggest losers in the markets on a day when most stocks enjoyed a decent boost.
First Solar (NASDAQ: FSLR ) , which also earned a spot as one of yesterday's three worst stocks, fell a whopping 13.8% today after reporting a seriously disconcerting earnings report. Actually, it wasn't as much the earnings – those topped Wall Street estimates – as the disappointing guidance and revenue in the quarter that spooked shareholders.
The second big decliner of the day was tobacco giant Lorillard (NYSE: LO.DL ) , which went ex-dividend today. What that means is that shareholders on record as of today are entitled to a $0.55 quarterly dividend when it's paid out on March 11. What frequently happens in these situations is short-term investors will buy into the stock in order to receive the quarterly dividend, then when they're no longer required to hold the stock to get paid, they'll sell it off. Lorillard, which pays a 5.3% annual dividend, experienced that phenomenon today, seeing its stock sell off by 1.7%.
Lastly, shares of Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL ) lost ground today as shareholders expressed their dismay with CEO Tim Cook's tight-lipped approach to the company's annual meeting. Apple, which has $137 billion in cash and investments, has been pressured by investors recently to put some of that massive cash hoard to work, be it in the form of dividends, stock buybacks, or internal reinvestment in its own business. Cook claimed the company was in "very active discussions" about what to do with all that money, but that wasn't detailed enough for Apple shareholders, who sold off the stock to the tune of 1% today.
There's no doubt that Apple is at the center of technology's largest revolution ever, and that longtime shareholders have been handsomely rewarded with over 1,000% gains. However, there is a debate raging as to whether Apple remains a buy. The Motley Fool's senior technology analyst and managing bureau chief, Eric Bleeker, is prepared to fill you in on both reasons to buy and reasons to sell Apple and what opportunities are left for the company (and your portfolio) going forward. To get instant access to his latest thinking on Apple, simply click here now.