Track the companies that matter to you. It's FREE! Click one of these fan favorites to get started: Apple; Google; Ford.



Today’s 3 Worst Stocks in the S&P 500

Watch stocks you care about

The single, easiest way to keep track of all the stocks that matter...

Your own personalized stock watchlist!

It's a 100% FREE Motley Fool service...

Click Here Now

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.

Stocks posted another day of big gains Friday, rallying for a second straight day in the face of subpar job creation in January. Although the Labor Department reported payroll growth that fell significantly short of expectations, this failure, ironically enough, helped send markets higher. Only Wall Street's fuzzy logic could've produced these gains, which were stoked by hopes that the Federal Reserve would slow the pace of its quantitative easing in the face of such an obviously impaired labor market. With that in mind, S&P 500 Index (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC  ) added 23 points, or 1.3%, to end at 1797.

A rising tide, however, never truly lifts all boats in the stock market, and shares of Cigna Corp (NYSE: CI  ) were a prime example of this fabled phrase's irrelevance here, as the stock slumped 9.3% today. Cigna, a health-care insurance provider, reported sales that beat estimates, but its earnings miss and disappointing forecast were enough to send shareholders to the exits Friday. Cigna's projected earnings per share in 2014 of between $6.80 and $7.20 fell well short of the $7.29 per share in earnings that analysts were hoping for.

Shares of Internet registry company VeriSign, (NASDAQ: VRSN  ) also slumped into the weekend, losing 4.9% today. VeriSign's slip was due to the eerie feeling Wall Street's getting that the company's profit margins are peaking. Taking a step back, profit margins like VeriSign's don't often last for too long anyway, so it was only a matter of time before the day of reckoning came. Gross margin currently exceeds 80%, meaning that for every $1 of sales, VeriSign is taking away $0.80 in gross profits. Not such a bad industry! But nothing lasts forever, after all, especially not amazing margins in a free market.

Lastly, shares of Windstream Holdings, (NASDAQ: WIN  ) fell 1.1% today, as investors' appetites for risk didn't mix with this telecom services stock. Telecom was the worst-performing sector in the entire market today, and Windstream, which pays a whopping 13.4% dividend, felt the pain as other sectors flourished. Though there wasn't much company-specific news today, the stock's unpopularity is consistent with some tried-and-true market behaviors that we tend to see time and time again. Companies that pay high dividends often underperform more growth-oriented stocks when the market rallies, because income and value investing become more emotionally alluring during downturns and bear markets.

Secure your future with nine rock-solid dividend stocks
While dividend stocks may not have won the popularity contest today, being a contrarian can yield investors massive returns over time. One of the dirty secrets that few finance professionals will openly admit is the fact that dividend stocks, as a group, handily outperform their non-dividend paying brethren. The reasons for this are too numerous to list here, but you can rest assured that it's true. However, knowing this is only half the battle. The other half is identifying which dividend stocks, in particular, are the best. With this in mind, our top analysts put together a free list of nine high-yielding stocks that should be in every income investor's portfolio. To learn the identity of these stocks instantly and for free, all you have to do is click here now.

Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (2)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2829650, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 9/3/2015 3:17:40 AM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

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.

Today's Market

updated 6 hours ago Sponsored by:
DOW 16,351.38 293.03 1.82%
S&P 500 1,948.86 35.01 1.83%
NASD 4,749.98 113.87 2.46%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

9/2/2015 4:36 PM
^GSPC $1948.86 Up +35.01 +1.83%
S&P 500 INDEX CAPS Rating: No stars
CI $139.34 Up +0.34 +0.24%
Cigna Corporation CAPS Rating: ****
VRSN $68.04 Up +1.48 +2.22%
VeriSign, Inc. CAPS Rating: ***
WIN $8.00 Up +0.59 +7.96%
Windstream Corp CAPS Rating: ***