Today's 3 Worst Stocks

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Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over daily movements, we do like to keep an eye on market changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

Days like today don't come around too often on Wall Street. In fact, for the S&P 500 Index , nothing like today has ever happened -- the benchmark ended at all-time highs on the Federal Reserve's surprising decision to keep up its $85 billion monthly bond-buying program. The index promptly surged 20 points, or 1.2%, on the news, ending at 1,725. That said, the unabashed bullishness was sprinkled with more than a few laggards, three of which we highlight for you today.

Online securities brokerage E*TRADE Financial is a prominent figure on today's list of underperformers, shedding 2.9%. The stock is more than twice as volatile as the larger market, and after an absurd 90% run-up in its stock price this year, shares may be due for a pullback. Of course, simply the fact that E*TRADE has been killing the market this year doesn't mean the stock is overvalued, but the fact that E*TRADE has lost money in its trailing 12 months could justify today's decline. 

J.C. Penney shares lost 2.1% today. The sudden slump isn't unusual for the stock, which may very well have shown up on this list more than any other company in 2013. The problem today isn't necessarily with leadership or tantrum-throwing activist investors, but the lack of a catalyst: The company is playing catch-up, trying to regain its lost customers, but there's nothing encouraging on the horizon to propel the stock higher as of now.

Lastly, Leucadia National lost 1.3% Wednesday. The company, which acquired the investment bank Jefferies Group, LLC, earlier this year, is suffering from Jefferies' abysmal third quarter report, which saw earnings slump more than 80% on a severe drought in fixed-income trading revenues. Ironically, the slump was likely driven by speculation that the Federal Reserve would end up tapering its bond-buying program; with that threat still looming, shareholders may have to count on reduced business from fixed-income for the time being.

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The article Today's 3 Worst Stocks originally appeared on

Fool contributor John Divine has no position in any stocks mentioned.  You can follow him on Twitter, @divinebizkid , and on Motley Fool CAPS, @TMFDivine . The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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