In early afternoon trade, the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) was trading 0.1% higher. However, shares in the following four companies were getting crunched.

  1. Slater & Gordon Limited (ASX: SGH) – down 33.6%

Shares of Australian law firm Slater & Gordon came under immense selling pressure for the second consecutive day. After revealing its half-year financial results to the market yesterday, Slater & Gordon’s share price fell 31%. While no company-specific news was released by the company today, a number of brokers have moved to downgrade their share price estimates in the wake of its enormous $958 million loss. At today’s prices, Slater & Gordon has a market capitalisation of $136.4 million, according to Google Finance.

  1. Bega Cheese Ltd (ASX: BGA) – down 7%

Shares of infant formula maker, cheese and dairy business, Bega Cheese, joined a basket of dairy producers in falling today. Shares of Bega Cheese went ‘ex-dividend’ recently, meaning investors on the company’s share registry as of yesterday evening are entitled to receive its latest dividend payment. The 100% franked 4.5 cents per share dividend is expected to be paid 17 March 2016.

  1. Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX: TLS) – down 4.5%

The Telstra Corporation share price took a pounding today as the company’s shares went ‘ex-dividend’. The $64 billion telecommunications heavyweight recently announced its half-year results and its board elected to pay a dividend of 15.5 cents per share. At yesterday’s closing price, that’s a dividend yield equivalent to 2.95%. Not bad for a half-year payout.

  1. Woolworths Limited (ASX: WOW) – down 2%

The Woolworths Limited share price fell to a low of $22.20 today ahead of the company’s ex-dividend date tomorrow. Last week, Australia’s largest supermarket operator announced a $972.7 million loss and cut its interim dividend from 67 cents per share to 44 cents per share. Yesterday, analysts moved to downgrade their price target estimates while ratings agency Standard & Poor’s said the half-year loss would have “no immediate impact on the ‘BBB+’ rating or negative outlook on the group.”

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Motley Fool Contributor Owen Raszkiewicz owns shares of Slater & Gordon. 

Owen welcomes -- and encourages -- your feedback on Google+, LinkedIn or you can follow him on Twitter @ASXinvest.

Unless otherwise noted, the author does not have a position in any stocks mentioned by the author in the comments below. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. 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. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.