Today's 3 Worst Stocks


Who's more powerful: Apple or Ben Bernanke? Today the markets answered with a resounding "Apple," as the benchmark S&P 500 Index fell along with Apple, despite some encouraging comments from Bernanke earlier in the day. The Federal Reserve chairman hinted in a speech early Monday that he thought the central bank's bond-buying strategy would continue through the near future. The S&P 500 stubbornly responded by losing 1.4 points, or about 0.1%, to close at 1,470.

Three S&P 500 stocks in particular were distinctly unpopular today. First, shares in telecom giant Sprint Nextel got hammered, losing 3.9% after investment bank UBS cut its rating on the stock. Emphasizing the new "neutral" outlook (the stock had formerly carried a "buy" rating), analysts said they expect lower fourth-quarter profitability this year from Sprint.

Uncharacteristically, Apple was the second major laggard in the index Monday. Shares fell 3.6% after reports emerged that the company ordered far fewer iPhone 5 component parts than expected for the quarter. A Bloomberg article alleges that about half of the 65 million iPhone 5 displays Apple was expected to order were placed. Fearing this could signal a disturbing drop in demand, Apple shares closed just above $500 apiece, the lowest level in 11 months.

First Solar , which started building its Campo Verde Solar project Jan. 10 in Imperial County, Calif., also recently bought a company called Solar Chile, signaling the company's move into subsidy-free markets. These large financial commitments may have spooked First Solar investors. The company has lost money in the trailing 12 months, and today's 2.5% decline could be a sign that meaningful profits will also be hard to come by moving forward. {%sfr%)

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John Divine owns shares of Apple. You can follow him on Twitter, @divinebizkid, and on Motley Fool CAPS, @TMFDivine.The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Apple. 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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