Today's 3 Worst Stocks

No matter the market, there will always be losers-a few lagging disappointments holding back a Wall Street rally or several big losers leading a bearish day. The S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC  ) nosed up as it maintained its momentum from Friday's historic 1,600 mark, gaining 0.2%, but several notable names held back the index from even greater gains and made investors pull their hair out in frustration. Here are the three worst stocks today that you need to know about -- from food products to health care, these stocks put a dent in Wall Street's Monday.

Dropping into the red
Beleaguered retailer J.C. Penney (NYSE: JCP  ) just can't get anything right, it seems -- even apologizing to consumers sends its stock down these days. Shares of the company slipped another 2% today, part of a trend that's seen the stock dive more than 48% over the past 52 weeks as J.C. Penney struggles to turn around last year's lagging sales.

Firing former CEO Ron Johnson hasn't helped the company's shares. J.C. Penney upped the ante by releasing a commercial recently admitting its foul-ups over the recent past and promising change for flustered consumers. However, until this retail chain can prove it can salvage sales at a time when its rivals in the industry are doing everything they can to cling to elusive, budget-conscious customers, expect more volatility and headaches from this stock. It wouldn't be surprising to see J.C. Penney make this list again soon.

More of a surprise is one solid diversified health-care stock that made today's list: Abbott Labs (NYSE: ABT  ) . Shares of the company fell 2.6% today on a day largely bereft of news. Despite today's drop, Abbott's performed well recently: The stock has surged nearly 15% year to date, and the company reported improved earnings per share, sales, and operating margins in its most recent quarterly report. While Abbott will have to get a handle on struggling medical device sales in a device industry that's under pricing pressure and swarming with competition, its nutrition business' overseas push bodes well for the company's financial future. Don't fear today's drop in the face of Abbott's strengths going forward.

Our biggest loser wasn't too badly hit on a quiet day around the markets, but shares of Tyson Foods (NYSE: TSN  ) still fell more than 3.3% to rank dead last on the S&P 500. Tyson fell victim to earnings season's hammer: The company's adjusted EPS missed analyst expectations by 20% for the quarter, and while sales rose year over year, revenue also fell short of projections.

Tyson CEO Donnie Smith dismissed some concerns of today's whiff, chalking up the miss as a result of usual second-quarter pressures -- a quarter Smith noted as Tyson's typically most difficult. While last year's drought weighs on costs, the company still sees full-year sales that match up with analyst projections.

Can J.C. Penney turn things around?
J.C. Penney's stock cratered under Ron Johnson's leadership, but could new CEO Mike Ullman present the opportunity investors have been waiting for? If you're wondering whether J.C. Penney is a buy today, you're invited to claim a copy of The Motley Fool's must-read report on the company. Learn everything you need to know about JCP's turnaround -- or lack thereof. Simply click here now for instant access.


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