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Markets breathed a sigh of relief on Thursday, rebounding from a rare three-day losing streak with sharp gains today. On top of declining unemployment claims, retail sales in May accelerated markedly from April, increasing 0.6% after a mere 0.1% uptick in April. The S&P 500 Index (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC ) responded in kind, adding 23 points, or 1.5%, to close at 1,636.
While, thankfully, today's three worst S&P components didn't see the sort of severe declines this list normally contains, all three significantly underperformed the index on a day where advancing stocks outnumbered decliners by almost a four-to-one ratio.
First Solar (NASDAQ: FSLR ) very well may have set a record today after its stock ended the day with 1.7% losses. Rarely does one stock end as the absolute worst performer in the index two days in a row, a rarity First Solar achieved yesterday, but I can't remember ever seeing a three-day reign of consecutive index-leading losses. The odds of such consistently excessive losing happening by chance is one-in-250,000 -- which explains why there's a perfectly good reason behind First Solar's historic losing streak. The company announced a massive secondary offering of common stock Tuesday, which will dilute current shareholders, and then mentioned that operations in Canada were behind schedule. Talk about bad news.
Red Hat (NYSE: RHT ) shed 1.2% Thursday as the technology sector was the worst-performing area of the markets. The open source software provider behind the Linux operating system also saw the price target for its shares pushed down today by BMO Capital Markets from $54, to $50 per share. Less than a month ago, the investment firm downgraded shares from "Outperform" to "Market Perform."
Lastly, shares of security firm ADT (NYSE: ADT ) posted their fourth straight losing session, shedding 1%. While the company presented at William Blair's Growth Stock Conference this week, it's possible that some of the attendees realized ADT wasn't a growth stock at all. With both sales and net income only rising by single digits in the 2012 fiscal year, it may have outed itself as a slow and steady grower rather than a potential home run.
Investors and bystanders alike have been shocked by First Solar's precipitous drop over the past two years. The stakes have never been higher for the company: Is it done for good, or ready for a rebound? If you're looking for continuing updates and guidance on the company whenever news breaks, The Motley Fool has created a brand-new report that details every must know side of this stock. To get started, simply click here now.