Today’s 3 Worst Stocks in the S&P 500

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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.

"Another day, another negligible swing in the stock market," is what I always say. The phrase, sadly, has never caught on, and is routinely ignored in favor of trite expressions like, "Another day, another dollar," word vomit such as, "A penny saved is a penny earned," and downright lies in the form of, "I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today."

Yet, negligible swings in the stock market, over a long period of time, are arguably a stronger force than even Wimpy's spinach-addicted pal Popeye. If the S&P 500 Index (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC  ) had ticked up by just 0.1% each day of trading in 2013, it would be sitting at nearly 28.6% gains come New Year's Day, 2014. In reality, the S&P was up 29.6% last year. But the point remains: Don't ignore small, compounded gains -- like today's -- because they add up. The S&P added 0.6 points, or 0.03%, to end at 1,838 on Thursday. It could be the start of something great. 

If this was the beginning of something great for Cliffs Natural Resources (NYSE: CLF  ) , the stock showed no signs of it, shedding 6.5% Thursday. The company mines for iron ore and coal, and with bad little boys and girls across the globe selling their Christmas stashes on the unregulated black market, Cliffs needs to assert itself before young Timmy parlays his sins into an unstoppable energy empire. In all seriousness, though, Cliffs Natural sells iron ore to steel producers in Asia and, with a recent movement by Chinese industry to focus on efficiency and the environment, the country is ratcheting down its steel production.

While the Pittsburgh-based United States Steel (NYSE: X  ) adheres to its proud name by marketing steel domestically, it also sells the alloy in Europe. And while it is avoiding the direct fallout of China's ebbing appetite, United States Steel stock still lost 4.4% today. Just days ago, investment bank UBS downgraded U.S. Steel stock in favor of competitors that utilize the so-called "mini-mill" production technology, which tends to have lower input costs. Analysts aside, with slow recoveries under way in both the U.S. and Europe, don't write off this stock just yet. Incremental gains add up, remember?

Lastly, chip maker NVIDIA (NASDAQ: NVDA  ) dropped 3.7% today, also in reaction to a sour analyst outlook. Canaccord Genuity downgraded shares from buy to hold, emphasizing how totally unimpressed it was with NVIDIA's performance at the Consumer Electronics Show. Yes, Canaccord Genuity analysts, who stare at cash flow statements and amortization tables from dusk to dawn, are apparently bored to death with NVIDIA's whole "Tegra" project -- you know, the system on a chip that could take graphics on mobile devices to places we've never known? Yeah, yawn. Personally, I think there's an enthusiastic market dying to use products like this: ones that allow for great gaming graphics to be enjoyed on mobile devices.

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Comments from our Foolish Readers

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  • Report this Comment On January 10, 2014, at 5:37 PM, hogsnotter wrote:

    It's amazing how many twenty-something morons such as Devine strive to declare the worst stocks. You look at this bozo's background and investing experience or lack of and it makes one wonder what the real motivation for Motley Fool or MF is. Yes, Devine that was a great play buying goog at $220 and selling a few bucks higher. Now you want to convince people that you know what companies are the worst in the S&P? You and MF (doesn't stand for Motley Fool to me ) are jackasses. MF: Your articles are consistently ignorant.

  • Report this Comment On January 10, 2014, at 6:33 PM, hogsnotter wrote:

    Bwhaa haa haa LMAO. I'm number one AND 2 commenter here. Why? Because Motley Fool and it's not-on-site writer staff barfs out "The Worst Stock Here.... the Worst Stock there" as often as most people take whiz. MF has so many articles out there on nearly every stock that they have lost their credibility relying on kids who know very little about the subject matter that they publish. I hope the morons close my account, which I just opened today in order to trash the youngster who wrote this article. To the 2 or 3 others who might read my posts, check back in 6 months to see how helpful Devine Moron's advice is. SUX IMO.

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John Divine

Fool since 2012, unique fingerprints since birth. Age 7: Put lifetime savings ($18.37!) in the bank, became disillusioned with low interest, and a fascination with the stock market was born.

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Related Tickers

8/28/2015 4:55 PM
^GSPC $1988.87 Up +1.21 +0.06%
S&P 500 INDEX CAPS Rating: No stars
CLF $3.83 Up +0.10 +2.68%
Cliffs Natural Res… CAPS Rating: ***
NVDA $22.73 Up +0.10 +0.44%
Nvidia CAPS Rating: *****
X $16.78 Down -0.11 -0.65%
United States Stee… CAPS Rating: ***