Today’s 3 Worst Stocks: E TRADE Financial Corporation (ETFC), Intuitive Surgical, Inc. (ISRG), Cliffs Natural Resources Inc (CLF)

Just two points from all-time closing highs, the S&P 500 Index latched onto falling jobless claims today, rallying 8.7 points, or 0.56%, to close at 1,563. The index’s advances have been unusually steady recently, with confidence slowly returning to the markets. Quite contrary to the spirit of the moment, the following three S&P members were anything but steady today, for a variety of reasons.

E TRADE Financial Corporation (ETFC)

I’ll be the first to admit that a technologically savvy infant with fully developed vocal chords and linguistic skills is, in all likelihood, a financial genius. But today’s 8.2% decline reminds me that the E TRADE Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:ETFC) baby simply cannot be old enough to have seen a full market cycle. Nor can the adorable cradle-bound young’un be expected to know how to soothe hedge funds, which is a useful skill: The online brokerage’s largest shareholder is set to sell just under 10% of E TRADE Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:ETFC)’s total outstanding shares next Tuesday. That’s not insubstantial, baby.

Rising costs at a Canadian iron ore pellet plant forced Cliffs Natural Resources Inc (NYSE:CLF) to announce plans to pause production at the location today. Capital-intensive businesses like Cliffs Natural Resources Inc (NYSE:CLF) are extremely susceptible to closures like today’s, where infrastructure is already in place, but must be left unused or awkwardly transported. Citing prohibitively high extraction costs per ton about 20% higher than another of its Canadian locations, the stock slumped 4.5% on the news.

Maker of the robotic medical device da Vinci, Intuitive Surgical, Inc. (NASDAQ:ISRG) stumbled 3.8% Thursday after attempting to smooth things over with shareholders about federal safety inquiries. Pointing a finger at a change made in reporting practices rather than issues with its product, a company statement reassured the public that no one, after all, has been reported dead or injured as a result of device malfunction. But that claim is legally controversial, as 30 people died in 2012 in operations done with the machines. Shares have taken a nearly 15% haircut since reports surfaced that the FDA was investigating the company.

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 Intuitive Surgical. The Motley Fool owns shares of Intuitive Surgical.

Copyright © 1995 – 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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