The week started off on a rocky note, with China sending some shock waves through the markets by lowering its growth target for 2012 from 8% to 7.5%. From there, though, good news largely took over. Though I'm not quite as confident as Nic Sarkozy that the eurozone's troubles are in the rearview mirror, Greece did take another step forward in its bid to avoid chaos by securing a historic debt swap with private investors. Meanwhile, in the U.S. we got more good news on the jobs front.
While the late-week good news helped major indexes avoid significant losses for the week, the end-of-week numbers were a mixed bag. The Dow Jones Industrial Average
The 3 Worst-Performing Sectors
Russell 3000 Sector
Weekly Price Change
Month-to-Date Price Change
Source: S&P Capital IQ. Weekly price change is March 2-March 9. Monthly price change is Feb. 29-March 9.
It was a pretty lousy start to the weekend for Green Mountain Coffee Roasters
The 3 Worst-Performing Russell 3000 Companies
Weekly Price Change
Source: S&P Capital IQ. Weekly price change is March 2-March 9. Includes only companies with market caps of $250 million or more.
Also among the week's worst performers were JBT
Sometimes the math of a stock plunge is very simple. In the case of food-processing technology specialist JBT, the 11% loss for the week came as the company reported quarterly results that were well short of analysts' expectations. For the fourth quarter, revenue fell 5% from the prior year, to $272 million, while adjusted earnings per share were $0.25, down from $0.56 in 2010. This was well below the $0.53 in per-share profit and $287 million in revenue that Wall Street was looking for, and investors punished the stock in a big way.
And while we're on the topic of poorly received earnings reports, we can talk about auto-parts manufacturer Standard Motor Products. As my fellow Fool Brian Pacampara pointed out, Standard Motor's earnings were largely in line with analysts' estimates, but a revenue miss got investors worked up about a potential slowdown for the company. That concern was stoked further when management provided current-quarter guidance below analyst estimates.
That's it for the weekly laggards recap. Looking to turn the tides and find some strong outperformers in the year ahead? The Motley Fool has created a brand-new free report titled "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2012." In it, my fellow Fools reveal a top pick that's poised for explosive growth ahead. Get instant access -- it's free.
The Motley Fool owns shares of JBT. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Deckers Outdoor, and Starbucks, writing covered calls on Starbucks. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended, and creating a lurking gator position in Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. 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.
Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer has no financial interest in any of the companies mentioned. You can check out what Matt is keeping an eye on by visiting his CAPS portfolio, or you can follow Matt on Twitter, @KoppTheFool, or on Facebook. The Fool's disclosure policy prefers dividends over a sharp stick in the eye.
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