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Why Akamai Technologies, Whole Foods Market, and MasterCard Incorporated Are Today's 3 Worst Stocks

By John Divine - Mar 25, 2014 at 8:12PM

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The stock market bounced back today, but these three stocks didn't get the memo.

Most stocks advanced on Tuesday, reversing the bearish trend of the last several days, a trend driven by worry over high-growth stocks and biotechnology companies. But with consumer confidence hitting six-year highs this month, investors couldn't keep selling, and all three major indexes rose. There were some notable exceptions to today's bullishness: Akamai Technologies ( AKAM -1.36% ), Whole Foods Market ( WFM ), and MasterCard Incorporated ( MA -2.50% ) all ended toward the bottom of the S&P 500 Index ( ^GSPC -1.90% ) as it tacked on 8 points, or 0.4%, to finish at 1,865. 

Akamai Technologies, which offers cloud-based content management solutions, lost 2.9% on Tuesday. The company teamed up with Telefonica today to form a global business alliance aimed at offering telecom solutions and content delivery to enterprises. Today's drop is somewhat puzzling, and considering Akamai hasn't posted declining revenue or net income in the past four years, it's a "Steady Eddie" in an industry that won't be slowing down anytime soon. 

Whole Foods' wares. Source: Flickr

Shares of Whole Foods Market shed 2.8% Tuesday, although it also lacked a definite catalyst to blame for its decline. But it doesn't take a financial Sherlock Holmes to notice when sales and income growth start to decelerate quickly, and that's precisely what's happening with Whole Foods. Revenue grew at a 33% slower pace in 2013 than it did in 2012; net income growth nearly halved -- going from about 36% a year to about 18% a year -- in the same period. People want to eat healthy, but they also want to be able to afford a table to eat on. As health foods make a resurgence, Whole Foods and its absurd margins will have to suffer as a result.

Finally, MasterCard dropped 2.7% today, as financials were one of only two sectors to finish the day in the red. MasterCard's global presence as a payment option has made it the enormous $90 billion corporate titan it is today. But the company could lose an important part of its international business -- unless significant geopolitical changes come out of the blue -- and soon. Mastercard has been forced by sanctions on Russia to stop processing transactions with some Russian banks, a move that may inspire the country to ban foreign payment systems completely. 

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis – even one of our own – helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.

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Stocks Mentioned

S&P 500 Index - Price Return (USD) Stock Quote
S&P 500 Index - Price Return (USD)
^GSPC
$4,567.00 (-1.90%) $-88.27
Whole Foods Market, Inc. Stock Quote
Whole Foods Market, Inc.
WFM
Mastercard Incorporated Stock Quote
Mastercard Incorporated
MA
$314.92 (-2.50%) $-8.09
Akamai Technologies, Inc. Stock Quote
Akamai Technologies, Inc.
AKAM
$112.70 (-1.36%) $-1.56

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

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