There will always be a few bad apples in every batch, a few bears mingling with the bulls on Wall Street. So, even as the S&P 500 Index rallied to a five-year high on higher housing starts and an improving employment outlook, a few companies found a way to blow it. These three S&P 500 components were unfazed by today's 8.3 point, 0.56% gains..

The most prominent of the three laggards was J.C. Penney , the struggling retailer that's seen a precipitous 45% drop in its share price in the last year. It may just be that J.C. Penney can't keep up with stiffer competition; the brick-and-mortar model certainly doesn't help, giving it higher overhead costs than online-oriented rivals. As the company swung to a loss in the 2012 fiscal year, and did away entirely with its dividend last May, who's to blame investors for selling off shares to the tune of 3.5% today?

The second notable decliner, international financial behemoth Citigroup , fell some 2.9%, after it announced disappointing results that came, in part, due to billions in legal fees from vague issues in the U.S. consumer banking business. Lamenting the weak profits and declaring that his company has to "stop destroying our shareholders' capital," relatively new CEO Michael Corbat didn't send an encouraging message.


Anxious investors also sold off specialty glass manufacturer Corning Thursday. The stock lost 1.8%, bringing shares to trade 13% lower than they did just a year ago. The company, which makes LCD monitors for notebook and desktop computers, and reports quarterly results Jan. 29, is experiencing some pre-earnings jitters as the PC market continues to slow.

With the explosive growth of smartphones worldwide, many investors thought they would ride Corning's dominant cover glass to massive investment returns. That hasn't played out yet, as mobile growth has failed to offset declines in the company's core business. In this brand new premium research report on Corning, our analyst walks you through the business, as well as the key opportunities and risks facing it today. Click here to claim your copy, and receive a full year of updates as key events unfold.

The article Today's 3 Worst Stocks originally appeared on Fool.com.

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 Corning. The Motley Fool owns shares of Citigroup Inc and Corning. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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