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.

Although less than half of all public stocks advanced Wednesday, both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 Index ended at or near record highs. With earnings season still in full swing and majorly influential economic data coming out tomorrow, the S&P 500 managed to tack on 7 points, or 0.4%, to end at 1,770. Tomorrow, Wall Street will look to GDP and jobless claims figures for a measure of how well the recovery is coming along. Relentlessly optimistic as today's markets are, there were still a handful of big decliners mixed in with the winners Wednesday. 

Shares of department store retailer J.C. Penney , which have been wildly volatile the entire year, slumped 7.3%, as investors seemed to recall the doubts that have driven shares down more than 60% in 2013. J.C. Penney's stock was reinvigorated recently by comments from CEO Myron Ullman, who expressed confidence in the company's upcoming holiday sales numbers last week. The comments sparked a brief rally in shares, giving shareholders hope that their hellish ride was over. For long-term investors, however, the best way to approach J.C. Penney is probably with severe caution, as liquidity concerns still abound. 

Chesapeake Energy , which has also been pushed and pulled by CEO-related issues in the past year, fell 6.8% Wednesday. While the oil and natural gas company looks to be in the midst of a turnaround, Chesapeake's third quarter report didn't quite cut it for investors today. Earnings beat expectations, with earnings per share rising from $0.33 in the same quarter last year to $0.43 in the most recent period. With operating cash flow also jumping more than 20%, today's decline seems to merely be the result of lofty production expectations. 

Finally, big-box electronics retailer Best Buy dropped 5.3% Wednesday. The fall comes on a day with a dearth of major developments regarding Best Buy's core business. With earnings set to be announced on Nov. 19 and shares having posting 250% gains in 2013 alone, it's not unlikely that some investors are getting the jitters and taking gains. While Best Buy doesn't have any net income in the last 12 months to speak of, it is the dawn of the holiday season, every retailer's favorite time of year.

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