The Week's Biggest Stock Laggards

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The week started off on a rocky note, with China sending some shock waves through the markets by lowering its growth target for 2012 from 8% to 7.5%. From there, though, good news largely took over. Though I'm not quite as confident as Nic Sarkozy that the eurozone's troubles are in the rearview mirror, Greece did take another step forward in its bid to avoid chaos by securing a historic debt swap with private investors. Meanwhile, in the U.S. we got more good news on the jobs front.

While the late-week good news helped major indexes avoid significant losses for the week, the end-of-week numbers were a mixed bag. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) closed out the week with a 0.4% drop, but the broader Russell 3000 managed to eke out a 0.3% gain.

The 3 Worst-Performing Sectors

Russell 3000 Sector

Weekly Price Change

Month-to-Date Price Change

Materials(1.1%)(0.7%)
Energy(0.7%)(0.8%)
Industrials0.1%(0.3%)

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Weekly price change is March 2-March 9. Monthly price change is Feb. 29-March 9.

It was a pretty lousy start to the weekend for Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (NAS: GMCR) and its investors. Coffee giant Starbucks (NAS: SBUX) rained all over Green Mountain's parade when it announced the Verismo, its entry into the home-brew, single-serve coffee market. Is this the beginning of the end for Green Mountain? There's reason to believe that the fear on Friday may have been overblown. Both companies took pains to explain that the Starbucks contraption is for espresso and specialty-coffee drinks, whereas Green Mountain's Keurigs brew up filter coffee. And it's worth remembering that the two companies are partners -- Starbucks sells branded pods for the Keurig brewers. On the other hand, as Starbucks looks for new avenues for growth, could the Verismo be just its first move in an effort to take over the home-brew market?

Deckers Outdoor (NAS: DECK) , meanwhile, got, um, decked by harsh words from analysts from a couple of Wall Street firms. Sterne Agee, which already had an underperform rating on Deckers' shares, reduced its price target for the stock to $60 and warned about an inventory glut. Stifel Nicolaus also cut its price target and said that a mild winter could hurt sales for the maker of Uggs.

The 3 Worst-Performing Russell 3000 Companies

Company

Weekly Price Change

Green Mountain(23%)
Pandora Media(17.3%)
Deckers(14.3%)

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Weekly price change is March 2-March 9. Includes only companies with market caps of $250 million or more.

Also among the week's worst performers were JBT (NYS: JBT) and Standard Motor Products.

Sometimes the math of a stock plunge is very simple. In the case of food-processing technology specialist JBT, the 11% loss for the week came as the company reported quarterly results that were well short of analysts' expectations. For the fourth quarter, revenue fell 5% from the prior year, to $272 million, while adjusted earnings per share were $0.25, down from $0.56 in 2010. This was well below the $0.53 in per-share profit and $287 million in revenue that Wall Street was looking for, and investors punished the stock in a big way.

And while we're on the topic of poorly received earnings reports, we can talk about auto-parts manufacturer Standard Motor Products. As my fellow Fool Brian Pacampara pointed out, Standard Motor's earnings were largely in line with analysts' estimates, but a revenue miss got investors worked up about a potential slowdown for the company. That concern was stoked further when management provided current-quarter guidance below analyst estimates.

That's it for the weekly laggards recap. Looking to turn the tides and find some strong outperformers in the year ahead? The Motley Fool has created a brand-new free report titled "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2012." In it, my fellow Fools reveal a top pick that's poised for explosive growth ahead. Get instant access -- it's free.

At the time this article was published The Motley Fool owns shares of JBT.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Deckers Outdoor, and Starbucks, writing covered calls on Starbucks.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended, and creating a lurking gator position in Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors.Fool contributorMatt Koppenhefferhas no financial interest in any of the companies mentioned. You can check out what Matt is keeping an eye on by visiting hisCAPS portfolio, or you can follow Matt on Twitter,@KoppTheFool, or onFacebook. The Fool'sdisclosure policyprefers dividends over a sharp stick in the eye.

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