Thursday was another big day for markets, as the S&P 500 Index (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) enjoyed its largest three-day surge since January. Not only did various Federal Reserve officials reassure Wall Street that the central bank wouldn't be adjusting its benchmark interest rates anytime soon, but the economy itself showed tangible signs of improvement: Consumer spending bounced back in May after an unexpected drop in April. The S&P added just under 10 points, or 0.6%, to close at 1,613 today. The index's three biggest laggards, however, all sold off substantially.
Payroll processor Paychex (NASDAQ:PAYX) ended with the largest declines, losing 3.7% after reporting disappointing fourth-quarter results. Despite a slowly resurgent economy and declining unemployment, Paychex was unable to translate a healthier macroeconomy into robust results, and profits stood flat from the same quarter last year. The company's guidance for the upcoming fiscal year also disappointed, as management looks for income growth between 8 percent and 9 percent.
Air Products & Chemicals (NYSE:APD), a specialty atmospheric gas provider, shed 3.5% Thursday after a downgrade from Bank of America. Citing simply a stretched valuation, Bank of America downgraded the stock from neutral to underperform. There are worse reasons to downgrade a stock if you're a shareholder; the stock is up 10% in 2013,and more than 20% in the last year. Plus, it still boasts a healthy 3% dividend.
Lastly, shares of oil refiner and marketer Tesoro (NYSE:TSO) slumped 2.4% Thursday, the fourth time in the last five days that the stock has swung more than 2%. Shares are currently nearly twice as volatile as the larger market, so swings like today's are nearly par for the course at this point. The company reached an agreement with ExxonMobil today to use Exxon and Mobil brand names at various retail gas stations on the West Coast, though financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed.
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