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Today’s 3 Worst Stocks: F5 Networks, Inc. (FFIV), AFLAC Incorporated (AFL), Juniper Networks, Inc. (JNPR)

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published yesterday, after market close.

Down big earlier in the day, the S&P 500 Index regained some of its standing by the time of the closing bell, but it still wasn’t quite enough: The index suffered its worst week of 2013 in the first week of April, losing 1% in the past five trading days. But even as the S&P had its fair share of losers Friday, three stocks in particular stood out as major laggards.

F5 Networks, Inc. (FFIV)

The victim of a severe double-whammy, F5 Networks, Inc. (NASDAQ:FFIV) simply got pummeled today, falling 19%, after preliminary quarterly projections caused a flurry of analyst downgrades. In a true sign of just how awful its second quarter guidance was, the network technology provider even dragged down several of its competitors today, as Wall Street worried whether the numbers were an indication of the industry’s fundamental health.

It’s hard to outdo nearly 20% losses, but AFLAC Incorporated (NYSE:AFL)‘s 3.9% slide today was nothing to scoff at, either. Shares of the insurer slumped as bond yields declined further; investment capital flocked from equities to lower-risk bonds, driving 10-year Treasuries to a mere 1.7% rate. Low rates are especially harmful to insurance giants like AFLAC Incorporated (NYSE:AFL), which can hold billions of dollars in low-risk securities as collateral for potential policy payouts.

One of the aforementioned competitors limping into the weekend on F5 Networks, Inc. (NASDAQ:FFIV)’ gloomy announcement was Juniper Networks, Inc. (NYSE:JNPR), which closes out our list of underperformers after a 3.2% drop on Friday. Though investors will have to wait until April 24 to hear Juniper Networks, Inc. (NYSE:JNPR)’s official quarterly results, the market has no reason to think that the company will outperform after hearing of another stalled network communications business. Of course, just because F5 Networks, Inc. (NASDAQ:FFIV) isn’t coming along as planned doesn’t necessarily mean that Juniper Networks, Inc. (NYSE:JNPR) is struggling, but decreased spending by major service providers AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) is cause for legitimate concern for Juniper Networks, Inc. (NYSE:JNPR).

The article Today’s 3 Worst Stocks originally appeared on

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 Aflac and F5 Networks. The Motley Fool owns shares of F5 Networks.

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