There will always be a few bad apples in every batch, a few bears mingling with the bulls on Wall Street. So, even as the S&P 500 Index (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) rallied to a five-year high on higher housing starts and an improving employment outlook, a few companies found a way to blow it. These three S&P 500 components were unfazed by today's 8.3 point, 0.56% gains..

The most prominent of the three laggards was J.C. Penney (OTC:JCPN.Q), the struggling retailer that's seen a precipitous 45% drop in its share price in the last year. It may just be that J.C. Penney can't keep up with stiffer competition; the brick-and-mortar model certainly doesn't help, giving it higher overhead costs than online-oriented rivals. As the company swung to a loss in the 2012 fiscal year, and did away entirely with its dividend last May, who's to blame investors for selling off shares to the tune of 3.5% today?

The second notable decliner, international financial behemoth Citigroup (NYSE:C), fell some 2.9%, after it announced disappointing results that came, in part, due to billions in legal fees from vague issues in the U.S. consumer banking business. Lamenting the weak profits and declaring that his company has to "stop destroying our shareholders' capital," relatively new CEO Michael Corbat didn't send an encouraging message.

Anxious investors also sold off specialty glass manufacturer Corning (NYSE:GLW) Thursday. The stock lost 1.8%, bringing shares to trade 13% lower than they did just a year ago. The company, which makes LCD monitors for notebook and desktop computers, and reports quarterly results Jan. 29, is experiencing some pre-earnings jitters as the PC market continues to slow.

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