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

From animal health to natural gas to solid dividend stocks, these 3 managed to underperform on a bullish day.

Feb 11, 2014 at 7:06PM

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.

The stock market closed higher for a fourth straight day today, as the new chairman of the Federal Reserve reassured investors and Congress made progress on extending the debt ceiling once again. Although it took the threat of an imminent snowstorm to force Congress' hand, the House of Representatives is expected to take steps to raise the U.S. debt ceiling without conditions until March 2015. The S&P 500 Index (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) added 19 points, or 1.1%, to end at 1,819 Tuesday.

While the overwhelmingly bullish market sent seven out of 10 stocks higher and boosted every single sector, that doesn't mean the day was without its losers. WPX Energy (NYSE:WPX) ended as the S&P's single worst stock of the day, losing 10% as it warned shareholders about what the company expects will be dreary fourth quarter results. WPX Energy provides oil and natural gas, and the $3.4 billion company announced its fourth quarter would feel the impact of a $1.4 billion impairment charge due to lower natural gas prices. Investors get to survey the extent of the damage when the Oklahoma-based company reports earnings -- or lack thereof -- on Feb. 27. 

Shares of animal health pharmaceutical company Zoetis (NYSE:ZTS) also took a hit today, stumbling 6.5% as its forward guidance spooked investors. Zoetis proved yet again that people really, really, love their animals last quarter, as net income more than tripled from the same quarter one year before. Of course, Zoetis' business is mainly derived from livestock, so saying that people "love their animals" takes a more morbid meaning in that context. From a business perspective, the bottom line is that growth is slowing, with earnings-per-share growth slowing back down to a single-digit pace. 

Lastly, shares of consumer goods giant ConAgra Foods (NYSE:CAG) slid 6.3% today, as net income projections also disappointed investors. Pressured margins, a tougher outlook for the Consumer Foods division, and a weak potato crop were all cited as reasons behind ConAgra's poor guidance. Now, ConAgra products aren't going anywhere, and the stock -- which pays a 3.2% dividend -- should still be a solid long-term investment for patient shareholders. Wall Street may get burned for its short-term thinking on this one; I don't think one bad crop report or one missed earnings projection will materially hurt this steady performer in the years to come.

Secure your future with 9 rock-solid dividend stocks
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.

John Divine has no position in any stocks mentioned. You can follow him on Twitter, @divinebizkid, and on Motley Fool CAPS, @TMFDivine.

The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Money to your ears - A great FREE investing resource for you

The best way to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as “binge-worthy finance.”

Feb 1, 2016 at 5:03PM

Whether we're in the midst of earnings season or riding out the market's lulls, you want to know the best strategies for your money.

And you'll want to go beyond the hype of screaming TV personalities, fear-mongering ads, and "analysis" from people who might have your email address ... but no track record of success.

In short, you want a voice of reason you can count on.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich," rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

And one of the easiest, most enjoyable, most valuable ways to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as "binge-worthy finance."

Whether you make it part of your daily commute or you save up and listen to a handful of episodes for your 50-mile bike rides or long soaks in a bubble bath (or both!), the podcasts make sense of your money.

And unlike so many who want to make the subjects of personal finance and investing complicated and scary, our podcasts are clear, insightful, and (yes, it's true) fun.

Our free suite of podcasts

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. The show is also heard weekly on dozens of radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers are timeless, so it's worth going back to and listening from the very start; the other three are focused more on today's events, so listen to the most recent first.

All are available for free at

If you're looking for a friendly voice ... with great advice on how to make the most of your money ... from a business with a lengthy track record of success ... in clear, compelling language ... I encourage you to give a listen to our free podcasts.

Head to, give them a spin, and you can subscribe there (at iTunes, Stitcher, or our other partners) if you want to receive them regularly.

It's money to your ears.


Compare Brokers