Earnings season kicks off today on Wall Street, and with the stock market near historic highs and the job market in a state of strong recovery, strong corporate earnings can only serve to corroborate the bullish images we're seeing painted about the economy. With so much riding on quarterly earnings, stocks took a dive on Tuesday. TripAdvisor (NASDAQ: TRIP ) , First Solar (NASDAQ: FSLR ) , and Salesforce.com (NYSE: CRM ) ended as the three worst stocks in the entire S&P 500 Index (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC ) today. The S&P, for its part, lost 13 points, or 0.7%, to end at 1,963.
Online travel booking company TripAdvisor saw shares tumble 5.6% today as investors moved away from high-flying momentum names, favoring more conservative, yield-bearing assets instead. And while TripAdvisor's growth prospects look promising, the stock is neither cheap -- with a pricetag of 70 times earnings -- nor yield-bearing. Online travel companies have been some of the hottest in the markets in recent years, and TripAdvisor's earned its position as one of the elite, growing annual revenue from $352 million in 2009 to $944 million in 2013.
First Solar, on the other hand, doesn't have the sky-high valuation of TripAdvisor. But it does operate in a nascent and unpredictable industry with no established history, making it far from a sure bet, even at 15 times earnings. First Solar stock lost 4.9% today, not because of any company-specific news, but because the emerging and highly competitive business of solar panel manufacturing didn't suit investors' risk tolerance today. Heavily subsidized Chinese rivals like Yingli Green Energy and others add international hurdles for First Solar as well.
Lastly, cloud enterprise provider Salesforce.com lost 4.3% on Tuesday. Salesforce has grown revenue at an exceptional and consistent pace for the last four years, with sales posting annual gains between 26% and 36% a year consistently throughout that time period. The company's bottom-line performance, however, has been less spectacular, and the company has lost a combined $500 million in its last two fiscal years. Those losses haven't stopped Salesforce from stating its international expansion efforts, however, and it recently announced its intention to expand its operations in Germany specifically. Salesforce is also expanding its service offerings to increasingly include business analytics, an area of potentially exciting growth prospects with the preponderance of big data.
You can't afford to miss this
"Made in China" -- an all too familiar phrase, and one that First Solar hopes consumers don't become accustomed to. But one radical new technology may help eradicate that phrase -- a technology that's already being employed by the U.S. Air Force, BMW, and even Nike. Respected publications like The Economist have compared this disruptive invention to the steam engine and the printing press; Business Insider calls it "the next trillion dollar industry." Watch The Motley Fool's shocking video presentation to learn about the next great wave of technological innovation, one that will bring an end to "Made in China" for good. Click here!