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PulteGroup, Inc. (PHM), Newfield Exploration Co. (NFX), Western Digital Corp (WDC): Today’s Three Worst Stocks

PulteGroup, Inc. (NYSE:PHM)Generally positive economic data, in combination with a blowout quarter from social networking giant Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), sent most stocks higher Thursday. Although jobless claims rose last week, the potentially negative repercussions were muted by a third consecutive month of domestic durable goods orders. The S&P 500 Index, reinvigorated after two consecutive days of losses, added four points, or 0.3%, to close at 1,690. But no matter what happens to durable goods orders, there will always be a few bad apples in the market, and three stocks in particular stood out today as rotten.

The biggest decliner in the entire S&P 500, PulteGroup, Inc. (NYSE:PHM), shed 10.3%, as homebuilders fell dramatically. It’s odd: The company reported quarterly earnings today, doubling profits from the same period a year ago. So what’s the catch? Well, orders fell, but the main reason behind the brutal fall was simply the result of high expectations. Analysts wanted more than 100% earnings growth. Analysts are hard to please sometimes.

Oil and gas explorer Newfield Exploration Co. (NYSE:NFX) lost 6.3% Thursday after its quarterly earnings also failed to impress investors. In sharp contrast to PulteGroup, Inc. (NYSE:PHM), however, profits actually fell by nearly 40% in the quarter due to lower gas volumes. Newfield Exploration Co. (NYSE:NFX)’s profitability has fluctuated wildly over the years: The company lost $542 million in 2009, then made over $1 billion in the combined years of 2010 and 2011, only to lose nearly $1.2 billion in 2012. It’s not a very predictable business, and shareholders suffered for that today.

Digital storage company Western Digital Corp (NASDAQ:WDC) rounds out today’s list of laggards, tumbling 5.9% after its net income fell 44% in the fiscal fourth quarter. Western Digital Corp (NASDAQ:WDC)’s fall from grace exemplifies the declining PC market, as Western Digital Corp (NASDAQ:WDC)’s hard drives become less and less relevant in an era of shifting consumer tastes. Most mobile devices use chips to store data instead of the antiquated hard drive, a fact evidenced by a 22% revenue slump in the recent quarter.

The article Today’s 3 Worst Stocks originally appeared on Fool.com and is written by John Divine.

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 Facebook. The Motley Fool owns shares of Facebook and Western Digital.

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