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Today's 3 Worst Stocks

By John Divine - Apr 24, 2013 at 7:45PM

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Guidance, guidance, guidance: The three reasons behind today's biggest falls.

It's hard to have a day of trading as sideways as we saw today. The S&P 500 Index (^GSPC 2.02%) added 0.01 points, a gain of literally 0.00%. This absurd equilibrium makes today's three S&P laggards even more notable for their unabashed poor performance.

Edwards Lifesciences (EW 1.52%) dropped 22% Wednesday on the heels of an earnings report one might term "epically awful." The company's Sapien heart valve has sold very well in the first quarter of the year, with sales up more than 40% over just a year ago. However, a business' greatest strength can also be its greatest weakness, and when Edwards scaled back expectations for how Sapien would sell throughout the full year, investors fled en masse. 

Juniper Networks (JNPR 3.77%) wasn't quite able to match the lopsided sell-off in Edwards Lifesciences, but shares sure did their darndest, slumping 9.6%. As with Edwards, it wasn't so much Juniper's results that plagued its stock -- it was discouraging guidance. The company sees earnings between $0.22 and $0.26 per share this quarter, comfortably below the $0.27 per share Wall Street was looking for. 

In fact, all three of today's major laggards could use a better guidance counselor: Motorola Solutions (MSI 1.86%) closed the day with a 9.2% loss after its forecasts were (take a guess!) fairly underwhelming. But Motorola Solutions didn't stop there. The company also disappointed on earnings per share as well as revenue growth. CEO Greg Brown may have also confused some when he referred to the first quarter's year-over-year sales growth -- less than 1% -- as "modest." Using the phrase "essentially nonexistent" may have been a bit closer to the truth. 

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Stocks Mentioned

S&P 500 Index - Price Return (USD) Stock Quote
S&P 500 Index - Price Return (USD)
^GSPC
$4,088.85 (2.02%) $80.84
Edwards Lifesciences Corporation Stock Quote
Edwards Lifesciences Corporation
EW
$97.39 (1.52%) $1.46
Juniper Networks, Inc. Stock Quote
Juniper Networks, Inc.
JNPR
$31.41 (3.77%) $1.14
Motorola Solutions, Inc. Stock Quote
Motorola Solutions, Inc.
MSI
$213.39 (1.86%) $3.89

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

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