10 Worst-Performing S&P 500 Stocks in January

BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- The 10 worst performers in the S&P 500 in January include companies that range from a chicken farmer, to a video-game maker, to the mighty Internet search engine Google ( GOOG).

The bottom 10 managed to post losses ranging from 8.5% to 21%, despite the benchmark index's 4.4% gain in January and lots of positive economic news.

The biggest boost for stocks has been the Federal Reserve's pledge to keep interest rates low to support the economy, which has shown some signs of a revival. At the same time, Europe seems to be getting closer to solving its debt woes.

But these losers all seem to have individualized circumstances that contributed to their slide, and overarching economic issues mattered little.

Lower natural gas prices hurt two, another was dented by an accounting gaffe, while earnings misses resulted in share-price declines for most.

In order of least worst to worst, here are the 10 poorest-performing stocks in the S&P 500 Index in January:

10. Centerpoint Energy ( CNP)

Performance: down 8.5%

Company profile: CenterPoint Energy is a regulated, electric transmission and distribution utility operating in the Houston area. The company also operates regulated natural gas distribution utilities in six states.

Investor takeaway: The stock gained 17% last year, so there could be some profit-taking as well as some impact from lower natural gas prices.

9. Tyson Foods ( TSN)

Performance: down 8.5%

Company profile: Tyson Foods manufactures and distributes raw and value-added chicken, beef and pork products.

Investor takeaway: Its shares were up 9% last year. S&P found five "buys," three "buy/holds" and nine "holds" in its survey of analysts. On Jan. 23, the trading volume was about double that of average, with no news that might have prompted that. Curiously, late in the month a report said that corn prices should be lower this year, and that's the company's highest input cost, so share prices should have risen.

8. WPX Energy ( WPX)

Performance: down 8.6%

Company profile: WPX Energy is an independent producer of oil and gas with acreage in Colorado, North Dakota and the Marcellus shale area of Pennsylvania.

Investor takeaway: Energy companies such as WPX, with projects in the oil shale regions of the U.S., saw a rash of deal making last year that pushed up share prices for companies that owned drilling rights in those areas, so there may have been some profit-taking. Low natural gas prices are also working against its projected profitability, impacting share values.

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