Today's 3 Worst Stocks in the S&P 500

Today's 3 Worst Stocks in the S&P 500

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.

With the government shutdown still in effect and the debt ceiling deadline still ominously looming, Wall Street finally began to recognize the danger Washington poses to the financial world. After a four-day rally fueled by hopes that progress was actually being made on Capitol Hill, Tuesday's events painted quite a different picture. In other words, Tuesday has seen no meaningful progress at all, and U.S. debt was put on notice of being downgraded after markets closed. A jittery S&P 500 Index , recognizing the danger, lost 12 points, or 0.7%, to end at 1,698.

Data storage company Teradata was easily the index's most pronounced loser, plummeting 18.4% after sharing a deeply disappointing earnings outlook for the remainder of the fiscal year. Though it won't announce official third-quarter results until Halloween, it's looking more and more like the results won't be much of a treat for anyone but Teradata bears and competitors. Adding insult to injury, Teradata explained that sales outside the U.S. and Europe were weak, but didn't explain why.

Several other tech companies fill out the list of the worst decliners in the S&P today as well. Application software company F5 Networks slumped 3%, though nothing company-specific drove the fall. The stock happens to be highly volatile, and is susceptible to big fluctuations in times of turmoil. In fact, if any news came out of F5 Networks today it was Piper Jaffray's reiteration of its overweight rating on shares.

Lastly, diversified electronics company Eaton shed 2.9%. Eaton is a good example of how the private sector can struggle as a result of the government shutdown or longer-term sharp cuts in government spending. While Eaton participates in dozens of different market segments, one of its more notable customers is the government itself. Of course, if the government can't pay its bills, Eaton's stock price won't be the only thing to lose value in a hurry. Hopefully, there will be real progress in Washington on Wednesday, giving investors some peace of mind.

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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 recommends Teradata. It recommends and owns shares of F5 Networks. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not 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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