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Cliffs Natural Resources Inc (CLF), Peabody Energy Corporation (BTU), Apollo Group Inc (APOL): Today’s 3 Worst Stocks

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Editor’s note: This article was originally published yesterday

No matter the market, there will always be a few lagging disappointments holding back a Wall Street rally or several big losers leading a bearish day. The S&P 500 had a strong day as the markets continue their rebound from last week’s big losses. But while the index picked up nearly 1%, several stocks took big losses and made investors pull their hair out in frustration. Here are the three worst stocks today that you need to know about — from education to metals, these stocks put a dent in Wall Street’s Wednesday.

Cliffs Natural Resources Inc (NYSE:CLF)Fallout from the “war on coal”
Cliffs Natural Resources Inc (NYSE:CLF) just has not had a very good year so far in 2013. The stock’s down 58% year to date and added to the losses today with a 3% drop, bad enough on a good market day to rank among the S&P’s biggest losers. Coal miners like Cliffs Natural Resources Inc (NYSE:CLF) are on a bind after President Obama gave the go-ahead for federal regulators to limit and cut carbon and greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. Some have dubbed the plan part of a “war on coal,” but it’s bad news for virtually every coal producer as stocks fell across the industry.

For Cliffs Natural Resources Inc (NYSE:CLF), a stock already under fire throughout the year, it’s the kind of blow that makes this stock’s upside even harder to see. Cliffs Natural Resources Inc (NYSE:CLF) sports a high dividend, but after slashing that by 76% earlier in the year, is that a payout you can really count on? The company also mines iron ore, but considering the mining sector’s collapse, there’s little hope for an immediate turnaround there, either.

Peabody Energy Corporation (NYSE:BTU) is another casualty of the coal mess, with shares down 3.3% today. The plan did offer slim hope for Peabody Energy Corporation (NYSE:BTU) and other coal producers by looking to improve “clean coal” technology, but with natural gas and oil booming domestically and capturing coal emissions still expensive, the offer seems hardly one that will improve the coal industry’s chances in the near future. Peabody Energy Corporation (NYSE:BTU)’s had almost as bad a year as Cliffs Natural Resources Inc (NYSE:CLF) in 2013, with the stock down more than 40% year to date. If a ramped-up war on coal is really coming, investors will be hard-pressed to recoup those losses from this stock and its peers.

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