Today's 3 Worst Stocks

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over daily movements, we do like to keep an eye on market changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

When a talking point on Wall Street becomes so echoed that mere shoeshine boys build up the confidence to give market advice to their clients, something is wrong. The mantra has become a distraction, a threat to the financial well-being of long-term investors. Joseph Kennedy, the first head of the SEC and father to political heavyweights Robert, John, and Ted Kennedy, is said to have sold most of his stocks just before the Great Depression upon receiving a stock tip from the young lad tending his shoes.

Concern about our monetary and fiscal policies are dominant themes in the mind of the prospective investor today. Such concerns drove the S&P 500 Index (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC  ) down 8 points, or 0.5% despite encouraging data from China that showed manufacturing activity at a six-month high. The benchmark index ended at 1,701 on Monday. 

F5 Networks (NASDAQ: FFIV  ) , the $7 billion application technology company, leads off the list of today's laggards, shedding 4.8%. F5 wasn't destined to follow the trend of its tech peers, which as a group were one of just three sectors to end in the green on Monday. Its shares have surged more than 30% in the last three months alone, and, as a highly volatile stock, it's more sensitive to market corrections than most Wall Street peers. That said, there was no single, significant catalyst behind F5's fall today. 

There was such a catalyst behind J.C. Penney's (NYSE: JCP  ) 4.6% drop. Ironically, the nightmarish ride for J.C. Penney investors over the past few years was largely the result of management's decision to do away with sales promotions altogether. This, both predictably and in hindsight, was a terrible decision and one that continues to hurt shareholders. The department store is reportedly raising more money to inject into its business -- even after raising billions earlier in 2013 -- a revelation that has shares on sale, near 52-week lows today. 

Lastly Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX  ) shares tumbled 3.8%. It's really an odd thing for the stock to do considering the fact that it won its first Emmy award yesterday. House of Cards director David Fincher took the cake for his portrayal of the politically dystopian world of Washington, in which Kevin Spacey stars as a morally bereft, Machiavellian congressman from the South. Quality of the programming aside, the stock has more than tripled this year alone, casting doubt on whether the streaming giant can live up to its expectations. 


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