Today's 3 Worst Stocks


Ending just a point and some change off its all-time record close, the S&P 500 Index contented itself with a 0.8%, or 12-point, gain today, closing at 1,563. Single-family home prices rose at the quickest pace in more than six years, showing some real strength behind the housing recovery. Unfortunately, these three bad apples just couldn't get with the program and ended the day as some of the worst performers in the 500 stock index.

One of the major for-profit tertiary education companies in the country, Apollo Group , dropped 2.7% on Tuesday after yesterday's quarterly earnings announcement. The company behind the University of Phoenix, the online school with more than 300,000 students, reported a nearly 80% decline in profits as new enrollments stumbled. Today's losses seem to be largely from profit-taking, since yesterday's results actually beat estimates handily and caused shares to spike 7%.

Best Buy , whose founder, Richard Schulze, returned to the company on Monday as chairman emeritus, fell 2.2% in Tuesday trading. Schulze attempted to take the electronics retailer private earlier this year but ultimately couldn't pull it off. Though the stock popped nearly 2% yesterday, it gave up all those gains and more today as investors may be reconsidering the impact of Schulze's return; he left the company last June after a PR fiasco resulting from the CEO's relationship with another employee.

St. Jude Medical , which primarily deals in cardiovascular medical devices, ended Tuesday down 2%, as the stock struggled after going ex-dividend today. Shareholders on record as of yesterday's close are entitled to the next quarterly dividend payment, which means that owners of the stock yesterday could sell the stock today and still get that quarterly payout. The company also just issued $1.6 billion in debt, and ratings agency Fitch said any further borrowing could threaten its "A" credit rating.

The battle between bricks-and-mortar companies and e-commerce wages on, with Best Buy caught in the middle. After what might have been its most tumultuous year in history, there are now even more unanswered questions about the future for the big-box electronics retailer. What's the new leadership dynamic? Will a smaller store format work out for both the company and its brave investors? Should you be one such brave investor? To help answer all these questions, The Motley Fool has released a new premium research report detailing the opportunities -- and the risks -- in store for Best Buy. Simply click here now to claim your comprehensive report today.

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