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AMP, CSL and Macquarie dumped

The S&P / ASX 200 Index (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) has slipped slightly lower, closing 0.1% down at 5,109.2, despite a new record high on Wall Street overnight. News that Australia’s trade deficit had widened to $1.06 billion in January put a dampener on the market, and investors may have been “rallied-out”, after the market posted several solid days of rises.

The Australian dollar was steady against the US dollar, fetching US 102.4 cents.

These three stocks were the worst performers in the top 20, falling more than 1%.

Blood products group CSL Limited (ASX: CSL) dropped 88 cents, or 1.5% to close at $59.47. Investors may be taking the opportunity to take some profits after seeing the shares rise more than 80% in the last 12 months. CSL expects to report a 20% increase in net profits for the 2013 financial year, after posting a 24% rise in first half profit. Earnings per share are expected to increase at a higher rate, with the company only part way through a $900 million share buyback.

Financial services giant AMP Limited (ASX: AMP) lost 1.3% to end at $5.27, as it too comes off 52 week highs. The company recently reported a $704 million profit for the 2012 financial year – it has a December year end, but faces several headwinds. Extensive reforms to financial planning and superannuation, and moves by investors into self-managed super funds (and subsequent jettisoning of financial advisors), means AMP, with its 4,300 planners and $86 billion of funds under management, faces some uncertainty.

Macquarie Group (ASX: MQG) lost 1.2% to close at $37.63. Since late August 2012, the company’s shares have rallied by over 40%, as equity markets globally rise. With its fortunes closely tied to the performance of the markets, increased investor confidence, and a flood of funds into the market and superannuation schemes, Macquarie may be able to beat its own earnings forecasts this year.

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The Motley Fool’s purpose is to help the world invest, better. Click here now for your free subscription to Take Stock, The Motley Fool’s free investing newsletter. Packed with stock ideas and investing advice, it is essential reading for anyone looking to build and grow their wealth in the years ahead.  This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson. Motley Fool writer/analyst Mike King owns shares in CSL.

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