Why Pentair, Zions Bancorp, and Eli Lilly & Co. Are Today’s 3 Worst Stocks

These companies, which failed to develop a product that prevents your stock from being a loser, all lost today.

Apr 22, 2014 at 7:44PM

The S&P 500 Index (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) charged ahead to a sixth-straight day of gains on Tuesday, locking in the longest consecutive bullish streak since November 2013. Are corporate profits at all-time highs? Not exactly. Are Americans getting full-time jobs like we've never seen before? That's a definitive no. But there isn't anywhere else to earn a return on your money, so in a low-rate environment, stocks are the investments that savers turn to. It would be a shame if you turned to these three stocks today, as they all finished at the bottom of the 500-stock index: Pentair, (NYSE:PNR), Zions Bancorp (NASDAQ:ZION) and Eli Lilly & Co. (NYSE:LLY) each ended as some of the most abhorrent names in the stock market today. 

Investors in the Swiss-based Pentair saw the stock slump 6.9% today after first-quarter sales came in well below Wall Street expectations. Not only did the suits on Wall Street find issue with Pentair's previous quarter, they've already picked a bone with the company's projected sales in the second quarter. Pentair steadfastly forecasts earnings per share of between $3.85 and $4 per share in 2014, easily allowing for the $3.96 in annual forecasts some firms have been looking for to materialize. 

The $5.5 billion Regional Pacific bank, Zions Bancorp, also couldn't please Wall Street on Tuesday, as shares tumbled 2% in trade. The Salt Lake City-based bank failed the Federal Reserve's mandatory stress tests, a rigorous set of conditions banks of a certain size must quality for if they hope to raise dividends or continue with stock buybacks. What is unique, and perhaps comforting, from a shareholder perspective is Zions' insistence that top executives will not be paid bonuses until the company finally passes the stress tests. 


Eli Lilly headquarters in Indianapolis. Source: company website

Switching subjects from banks to health care, Eli Lilly & Co. tumbled 1.4% today, as talks of acquiring Novartis' animal-health business got serious. According to Reuters, Novartis is willing to part with its animal-health business for $5.4 billion, an acquisition that would make Eli Lilly & Co. the second-biggest animal-health treatment group by sales, next to Zoetis, which was spun off by Pfizer in 2013. Novartis wants to offer Eli its animal-health division for two reasons: Novartis knows Eli could use it to secure its market position in that area, and the $5.4 billion price tag just happens to be what Eli Lilly held in cash at the end of its last fiscal year.

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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.

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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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