Stocks lost ground on Thursday as consumer spending numbers came in below expectations, and institutional investors sold positions ahead of the end of the second quarter. While the S&P 500 Index (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC ) ended modestly lower, Bed Bath & Beyond (NASDAQ: BBBY ) , Tenet Healthcare Corp. (NYSE: THC ) , and Philip Morris International, (NYSE: PM ) were the day's worst decliners. The S&P 500 itself lost two points, or 0.1%, to end at 1,957.
Bed Bath & Beyond shares were plunging today, shedding 7.2% after it missed on quarterly earnings, and projections came in below expectations, as well. The company forecast second-quarter earnings per share between $1.08 and $1.16, far below analyst expectations for $1.20. Margins are on the decline, coming in at their lowest levels this decade. On top of that, Bed Bath & Beyond's online efforts haven't yet paid off, which could be a catalyst for margin growth.
Shares of Tenet Healthcare lost 2.7% today, as the health-care sector ended in the red. Sales at the hospital operator soared 21% last year, but profits have been steadily declining for the last five years -- in 2013, Tenet actually lost $123 million. One admirable thing the company's doing currently is partnering with TriWest Healthcare to help veterans in five different states. With the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan winding down in recent years, Americans returning from the line of duty need adequate health care, and Tenet's partnership shows that we appreciate what they've done for us.
Lastly, shares of Philip Morris International fell 2.7% today, as the stock took a hit after announcing dismal full-year guidance. Investors buy the future, not the past, and with the tobacco industry facing harsher and harsher regulations, Philip Morris and its peers will have to get creative to increase profitability in the long term. E-cigarettes, which, as a relatively new part of the market, have yet to face the sort of scrutiny traditional cigarettes face, are one such way Philip Morris is trying to expand. While the company blamed currency fluctuations, black market tobacco in the Philippines, and less colorful packaging in Australia for its lowered projections, it's hoping that its investment in England's e-vapor company Nicocigs will get things back on track.
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