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.

For every one stock that advanced, more than four fell in trading on Wall Street Wednesday as investors headed for the exits following news of a budget agreement on Capitol Hill. You'd think a brokered deal across party lines putting our nation on a more fiscally responsible path would be met with jubilance in the stock market, but instead the deal was met with widespread selling. The S&P 500 Index lost 20 points, or 1.1%, to end at 1,782.

Mining equipment maker Joy Global ended as one of the most dismal performers in the 500-stock index, shedding 5.5%. The Milwaukee-based company reported weak results for its most recent quarter, and projected abysmal performance into the next fiscal year as well. One glaring problem that my colleague Neha Chamaria thinks should worry long-term investors is Joy Global's lack of diversification, which, Neha argues, essentially leaves the fate of the company in the hands of the mining industry.

Cloud-based sales management platform was another standout laggard, falling 4.3% in trading. It's not shocking that a stock like Salesforce -- an unprofitable company in which more than 99% of outstanding shares are owned by institutional investors -- should fall on a day like today. With shareholders taking gains in every corner of the market, this speculative cloud technology play had no reason to advance today. Although Salesforce has earned the respect of the market over the years and has impressive name recognition, there isn't a value investor in the world with their money behind this stock and I'm skeptical of its potential in the long run with the company still losing money.

Finally, iron and coal miner Cliffs Natural Resources dropped 4.1%. Cliffs' sell-off makes even more sense than Saleforce's -- coking coal prices are expected to continue their slump going forward, and countries like Australia are making it tough for coal prices to do anything but decline. Aussie exports of metallurgical coal are expected to jump about 8% from 2012 this year, to nearly 160 million tons. With supply continuing to increase and coal prices perhaps at elevated levels as Asian producers stock up for the winter, the outlook in the short term doesn't look promising.

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