The four-year bull market that drove the S&P 500 Index (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) to all-time record closes in the last four trading days lost ground today -- but it isn't the end of the world. The S&P lost six points, or about 0.4%, Thursday after a Federal Reserve official said he'd like to slow the pace of bond buybacks as soon as next month. But a mere comment about monetary policy wasn't what drove the S&P's three worst performers to their depressed states.
Tops in today's losers: energy drink maker Monster Beverage (NASDAQ:MNST), which tumbled 5.2% on declining sales and an underwhelming outlook for future growth. It doesn't take a savvy investor to realize that any company with slipping sales growth and legal battles on the horizon over product safety probably isn't the best safe haven for his or her money. Oh, and after the CEO was done talking about the awful first quarter, he told investors not to expect any improvements in April.
Electric utility provider AES (NYSE:AES) slumped 4.9% today after reporting a feeble quarter of its own. While both sales and earnings were down at the company, there was a silver lining in the announcement. The company is well aware of the economic woes in Europe, and it's taking major steps to divest itself from the troubled continent. It's already sold more than $1 billion in foreign assets in the last two years that have shown slow- to no-growth opportunities. So, despite the weak quarter, the CEO gets the picture, and the company is moving forward with a smarter strategy.
Finally, disk-drive maker Seagate Technology (NASDAQ:STX) slipped 4.7% Thursday, to register as the third biggest decliner in the index. Hedge-fund manager Jim Chanos' comments at the annual Ira Sohn Conference were major contributors to the stock's poor performance today. Chanos, who earned his fair share of name recognition after predicting Enron's fraudulent accounting practices, said hard-disk drives were seeing greater sales drops than even the PC market, calling out Seagate specifically.
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