Why Delta Air Lines Inc., Harley-Davidson, Inc., and Facebook, Inc. Are Today's 3 Worst Stocks

Weak international traffic, an analyst downgrade, and a morally questionable social experiment lie behind the worst performers in the stock market today

Jul 2, 2014 at 7:55PM

The ADP employment report, a much-watched monthly gauge of U.S. private sector employment, walloped Wall Street estimates today. According to ADP, private sector payrolls expanded by 281,000 last month, a far cry from the 213,000 consensus experts had called for. Stocks were blasé about the bullish data, hardly budging from yesterday's levels. Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL), Harley-Davidson, (NYSE:HOG), and Facebook, (NASDAQ:FB) even had the nerve to finish Wednesday deep in the red, as three of the S&P 500 Index's (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) worst decliners. The S&P advanced only slightly, adding 1 point, or 0.1%, to end at 1,974, a record closing high.

With America's birthday looming on Friday, Wednesday marked the last full day of trading in the holiday-shortened week; markets will close at 1 p.m. ET tomorrow. Not wishing to waste any time, Delta Air Lines investors got a healthy dose of selling in today, as shares plunged 5.1%. The airline, which keeps shareholders informed with monthly reports on various metrics, announced some less-than stellar June results today. In particular, the higher-margin international traffic advanced a meager 1.9% last month, a deceleration of more than 50% from April's growth levels.

One thing's for sure: Delta's international struggles in June probably weren't due to droves of Harley-Davidson riders taking to their bikes for intercontinental trips. Aside from the sheer impracticality of a mass, choreographed migration of bikers (Myrtle Beach Bike Week being a notable exception), there's the issue of Harley's second-quarter sales. The stock fell 3.6% on Wednesday after research firm Raymond James downgraded shares to "market perform" from "strong buy," citing channel checks that implied chopper sales at the iconic company probably wouldn't live up to Wall Street's 11% sales growth estimate for the second quarter.


Facebook's own Facebook page encourages users to create groups for those with similar interests. Who's passionate about business ethics? Image Source: Facebook.

While about half a dozen utilities stocks lost more ground than Facebook shares today, their underperformance had more to do with systemic concerns about the sector they hail from than anything company-specific. Facebook stock, meanwhile, lost 2.4% Wednesday under much more interesting -- and controversial circumstances. The world's largest social network admitted to running a psychological experiment back in 2012 on hundreds of thousands of its users -- without their consent. The company only apologized today – and for the way it communicated to users about the experiment, not for actually conducting the experiment itself. The half-hearted apology followed news that Britain had launched an investigation into the experiment, which tested whether manipulating a user's "news feed" would in turn affect the user's own mood. The results confirmed that this was the case.

Leaked: Apple's next smart device (warning -- it may shock you)
Apple recently recruited a secret-development "dream team" to guarantee that its newest smart device was kept hidden from the public for as long as possible. But the secret is out, and some early viewers are even claiming that its everyday impact could trump the iPod, iPhone, and the iPad. In fact, ABI Research predicts that 485 million of these devices will be sold per year. But one small company makes this gadget possible. And its stock price has nearly unlimited room to run for early in-the-know investors. To be one of them, and to see Apple's newest smart gizmo, just click here!

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 recommends and owns shares of Facebook. 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.

Click here to learn about this incredible technology before Buffett stops being scared and starts buying!

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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