Stocks traded modestly higher on Wednesday as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke made it abundantly clear to Congress and the public that the central bank has no idea when or how it will start tapering asset purchases. Committing only to respond to economic data in a sensible way, Wall Street cheered the fact that Bernanke is open to printing even more money if the economy begins to struggle again. The S&P 500 Index (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) added four points, or 0.3%, to end at 1,680, a day after the index pulled back from all-time highs. But shares in today's three worst performers weren't able to capitalize on Wall Street's upbeat mood in the least.
Chip maker Broadcom (NASDAQ:BRCM) was one of the S&P's more notable decliners, sliding 3.6% as investors reacted to news that the company is losing an important customer. Broadcom will no longer be used by Samsung as the combo-chip provider for the newest Samsung Galaxy S 4 mini smartphone, according to a Barclays analyst. The combo chip, which allows for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi WLAN compatibility, is now being supplied by Broadcom rival Qualcomm, according to the report.
Sprint (NYSE:S) shares, which have landed on this list for a second straight day, slipped 3.6%, as downward momentum drove the stock lower. Shares also fell 3.6% yesterday, as the stock cooled down after a sudden four day run-up that saw shares soar more than 20%. Sprint rival AT&T just announced a new program that allows customers to pay an extra monthly fee for the right to more frequent smartphone upgrades as the telecom giants gun for one another's customers.
Finally, turnaround prospect J.C. Penney (NYSE:JCP) is still finding it difficult to turn that first major corner and show definitive signs of improvement. Credit Suisse, for one, believes that recently slashed prices of the retailer's home merchandise may be harming the company. J.C. Penney shares fell 3.3% following Credit Suisse's lowered margins outlook for the second quarter.
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