Today's 3 Worst Stocks in the S&P 500

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.

Before today, it had been a few months since the S&P 500 Index (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC  ) dropped in three straight sessions -- a pretty remarkable testament to Wall Street's current bullish psyche. But all streaks eventually come to an end, and the index fell for a third consecutive day Wednesday after the Federal Reserve warned that it may begin to scale back quantitative easing efforts soon. This is no jaw-dropper; the consensus on Wall Street had the central bank tapering back in September. That said, the stock market rarely applauds the end of loose money policies, and the S&P 500 was no exception today, losing 6 points, or 0.4%, to end at 1,781.

You might already expect shares of home improvement retailer Lowe's (NYSE: LOW  ) to dip, given the specter of higher interest rates in the face of the Fed's tapering. Lowe's investors are well aware that what's good for the real estate market is good for their portfolio, and slower growth in real estate therefore threatens their gains. But the 6.2% sell-off today was steepened by the company's quarterly results, which underwhelmed. Don't get it wrong: Lowe's stock is up more than 30% in 2013, and for good reason as earnings continue to soar. However, analysts were looking for bigger and better things, an expectation that ultimately led to today's stumble.

Newmont Mining (NYSE: NEM  ) shares ended as another one of the S&P's worst performers, dropping 3.5% in what was essentially a direct result of the Fed minutes. Newmont Mining plies gold and copper, and as a result is largely dependent on the prices of those commodities. Gold, a textbook hedge against a weaker dollar, took a serious hit today, dropping more than $15 to settle at $1,258 an ounce. With the precious metal selling within 5% of 52-week lows, there wasn't much to cheer for Newmont investors today.

Finally, Boeing (NYSE: BA  ) stock shed 3.3% Wednesday on the heels of a downgrade from Oppenheimer. To its credit, Oppenheimer recommended piling into the aerospace giant in January, or, in terms of gains, 74% ago. Now it feels shares are fully valued after the remarkable run -- an opinion, no doubt, causing investors to take some chips off the table. That said, my colleague Dan Carroll does a fine job highlighting the reasons Boeing remains an attractive investment, not least of which is the fact it logged about $130 billion in orders this week.

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