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

From energy to health care, natural gas to allergies, today's 3 laggards couldn't hang with the rest of the stock market

Mar 5, 2014 at 7:26PM

The S&P 500 Index (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) pulled back ever-so-gently from its record close yesterday, as a gauge of U.S. private sector employment came in below expectations. The ADP employment report, often considered an indicator for the Labor Deartment's monthly nonfarm payrolls report, showed soft jobs growth in February. That said, the Federal Reserve's "Beige Book," which is released eight times a year and details current economic conditions, blamed low economic growth in early 2014 on the weather. Let's hope it's the weather. Unsure whether to blame Mother Nature or accept the idea of a poor labor market, the S&P 500 finished sideways, losing 0.1 points, or 0.01%, to end at 1,873. 

ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM) shareholders had no trouble figuring out which way the stock should go today, sending shares down 2.8% in trade. Exxon committed to cutting costs this year, forecasting cost reductions that will run all the way through 2017. Cost reductions weren't behind today's slump, though -- lousy production rates were. Exxon's projected 2014 oil and natural gas production is expected to remain flat from last year; not only that but the company expects to drill in the Russian Arctic later in 2014, plans that could be put off if the U.S. imposes sanctions against Russia for its hostility toward Ukraine. 

Pioneer Natural Resources (NYSE:PXD), a Texas company that produces oil and natural gas, saw shares lose 2.8% on Wednesday. The loss is mostly attributable to the fact that Wednesday was an awful day to be in the oil and gas business -- the sector was the worst performing of the 10 market sectors. That's because the price of oil fell 1.8% as tension from the Russia-Ukraine conflict continued to subside; natural gas prices also fell 3% today. Natural gas's relative affordability due to the U.S. energy boom in recent years is one reason Exxon made the conscious decision to decrease its natural gas production in 2014, as it waits for the supply glut to disappear. 

Lastly, shares of $21 billion generic pharmaceutical company Mylan (NASDAQ:MYL) slipped 2.4% today. Pops and drops like today's are nothing out of the ordinary for Mylan investors, who -- when including last week's 9% jump after an exemplary earnings call -- have seen shares jump 80% in the last year alone. Mylan's gross margins in the fourth quarter were great at 51%, and revenue growth was driven by the company's partnership with Pfizer, in which Mylan markets the EpiPen, a product used to treat severe allergies. As for today's decline, it's nothing for investors to lose their heads over.

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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.

4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out Warren Buffett recently told a select number of investors about the cutting-edge technology that's keeping him awake at night.

This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

That's how Buffett responded when asked about this emerging market that is already expected to be worth more than $2 trillion in the U.S. alone. Google has already put some of its best engineers behind the technology powering this trend. 

The amazing thing is, while Buffett may be nervous, the rest of us can invest in this new industry BEFORE the old money realizes what hit them.

KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

Think about how many amazing technologies you've watched soar to new heights while you kick yourself thinking, "I knew about that technology before everyone was talking about it, but I just sat on my hands." 

Don't let that happen again. This time, it should be your family telling you, "I can't believe you knew about and invested in that technology so early on."

That's why I hope you take just a few minutes to access the exclusive research our team of analysts has put together on this industry and the one stock positioned to capitalize on this major shift.

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David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.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.

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