Rallying to a fourth straight record close, the S&P 500 Index (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC ) remained in undeniably bullish form Wednesday. Wall Street has managed to get good mileage out of two recent decisions by central banks to decrease interest rates. To be fair, when the European Central Bank slashes rates to record lows one week and Australia's central bank cuts rates the next, it can give off an optimistic vibe. But "optimistic vibe" may be a foreign phrase to investors in the three following companies, which were some of the S&P's severest decliners today.
Freight services and logistics company CH Robinson Worldwide (NASDAQ: CHRW ) cratered 7% after shareholders failed to be impressed with the company's quarterly results. Sales came in barely higher than expected, gaining 17% year over year. Earnings, however, were down 2% from the same quarter last year. With operating expenses rising to 63% of revenue from a 59% rate last year, it's not hard to see what held back profits.
There's only one thing worse than earnings misses, and that's earnings and revenue misses. Williams (NYSE: WMB ) , a nationwide energy pipeline operator, sold off to the tune of 3.7% after a quarter of declining sales and profits. On a quarterly basis, of course, periods like this are just a part of being in the energy markets. Margins on natural gas liquids slipped, and Williams got hit hard as a result, plain and simple.
Petroleum refiner and marketer Marathon Petroleum (NYSE: MPC ) rounds out our list of sluggish performers, with losses of 3.5% Wednesday. It should be noted, however, that while it lost ground today, this stock has been tearing it up for a year now, and even after today it's up four of the past five days and has more than doubled in the past 52 weeks. Nothing material really caused the sell-off today, but with shares nearly three times as volatile as the broader market, today's slip shouldn't be regarded as anything too peculiar.