After a year-long recovery in the market, stocks have recently taken a turn for the worst. Despite strong corporate earnings in the first quarter and a rebound in consumer spending, investors are now bracing themselves for what could be a major correction or even a bear market.

So what happened?

The European debt crisis that began as a minor issue in Greece has spread like wildfire to the rest of the European Union. The energy sector has been pummeled as the BP oil spill drags on, taking with it the share prices of almost every company involved with exploration, drilling, or services.

In times like this, it's not odd to see drastic movement in your portfolio, stocks that move by 5% to 15% on barely any news at all. So let's see which stocks were the biggest market movers yesterday and examine whether or not there was any logic in their shift.


Market Cap (millions)

Change in Price (%)

Closing Price

Hovnanian Enterprises (NYSE: HOV)




Suntech Power Holdings (NYSE: STP)




Pier 1 Imports (NYSE: PIR)




Shares of Hovnanian Enterprises, a homebuilder and financial services company that operates in more than 15 states, fell by double digits yesterday. Despite the company reporting a narrower loss than expected, analysts were disappointed by the $318.6 million in revenues recorded. In addition, Hovnanian delivered 19% fewer homes this quarter than in the comparable quarter in 2009. The homebuilding industry dragged down yesterday in general, as shares also fell for big-time players PulteGroup (NYSE: PHM) and D.R. Horton (NYSE: DHI).

Chinese solar panel maker Suntech reported an increase in revenues and shipments, but the good news was hampered by currency fluctuations and production glitches. Suntech was hurt by a $24.5 million currency charge because of the falling euro, a trend that Janney Capital Analyst John M.A. Roy sees continuing for the next few quarters.

Despite a stagnant economy and a disappointing jobs report, American consumers continue to spend. The shares of home-goods retailer Pier 1 Imports rose as researcher Kantar Retail reported that same-store sales for retailers increased by 2.7% last month. Trouncing its peers, Pier 1 reported that its same-store sales were up a whopping 14.3%, illustrating that people are still willing to dole out cash for home goods.

The Foolish bottom line
In the choppy waters of today's market, you've got to watch your portfolio carefully -- but be careful to distinguish between random volatility and a true change in fundamentals. If your stocks are jumping all over the radar screen but your investing thesis remains intact, then just sit back and hold on for the ride.

Jordan DiPietro doesn't own any shares mentioned above. Suntech Power Holdings is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.