Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Today's 3 Worst Stocks

By John Divine - Apr 2, 2013 at 7:21PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

Despite a historic day for the S&P, three companies managed to crater

Gaining 0.5%, the S&P 500 Index (^GSPC 0.01%) set a new record close today, as the government of Cyprus reached a deal that allows the small, desperate Mediterranean country some much-needed extra time to meet bailout requirements. Even as the benchmark index reaches all-time highs, three stocks in particular still managed to fall off a cliff Tuesday.

While yesterday saw chip-making companies suffer across the board, today oil refiners finished the day as notable underperformers; shares of Valero Energy (VLO -1.03%) in particular stood out, slipping 5.7%. The decline follows an announcement from a company spokesman that Valero will have to spend between $300 million and $400 million on new equipment. The new equipment isn't just an impulsive expense; the Environmental Protection Agency's new sulfur standards for gasoline mean refiners will need better technology to keep up with the law.

Marathon Petroleum (MPC 0.83%) will probably be in the same boat as Valero, a sentiment that sent shares of the refiner 4.8% lower. The EPA said that refineries should be able to reduce sulfur content from 30 parts per million to 10 parts per million with no problem, but investors seem to think that's a little optimistic, judging by today's sell-off. While both Valero and Marathon had rough days today, their stocks have done remarkably well in 2013, so some profit-taking may be involved with the declines today.

Southwest Airlines (LUV -2.11%) was also a victim of structural industrywide issues: Delta Air Lines (DAL -1.53%) ruined it for other airlines today, as sales disappointed in March. Taking a cue from Delta, Southwest dropped 4.2% Tuesday. The company is set to report quarterly earnings April 25, and with its AirTran merger set to come to a close this month, now is a time of major changes for the airline. 

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

S&P 500 Index - Price Return (USD) Stock Quote
S&P 500 Index - Price Return (USD)
$3,901.36 (0.01%) $0.57
Valero Energy Corporation Stock Quote
Valero Energy Corporation
$122.98 (-1.03%) $-1.28
Southwest Airlines Co. Stock Quote
Southwest Airlines Co.
$42.65 (-2.11%) $0.92
Delta Air Lines, Inc. Stock Quote
Delta Air Lines, Inc.
$38.64 (-1.53%) $0.60
Marathon Petroleum Corporation Stock Quote
Marathon Petroleum Corporation
$96.56 (0.83%) $0.80

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning service.

Stock Advisor Returns
S&P 500 Returns

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 05/20/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.