Why these 4 shares are getting pulverised today

Investors have reacted negatively to better-than-expected inflation numbers released today and this has seen the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX:XJO) fall by 1.5% to 5,360 points.

The probability of further rate cuts is less likely now and investors have also been left disappointed with a number of company updates.

The materials sector is the only sector putting up a fight today, with big losses coming from the consumer discretionary, energy, and industrials sectors.

Four shares that have been punished severely today, include:

Wesfarmers Ltd (ASX: WES)

Shares of Wesfarmers have fallen around 5% today after the company reported a third consecutive quarter of slowing sales growth for its Coles division. Same-store sales for food and liquor grew by 1.8% in the September quarter, well below the 3.3% recorded in the June quarter. Investors are undoubtedly concerned that increasing competition in the sector is starting to have a negative impact on sales. On a more positive note, the Officeworks and Bunnings businesses have continued their strong sales growth during the quarter.

Ainsworth Game Technology Limited (ASX: AGI)

Shares of Ainsworth have taken a massive beating today, falling by as much as 20% in early trade. The shares have managed to recoup some of those losses mid-way through the session, but are still trading 9.5% lower to $1.83. The fall comes on the back of a disappointing trading update that flagged a big fall in first half FY17 profits as a result of slowing machine sales in Australia. The company now expects first-half pre-tax profits to be around $15 million, well below the $35 million generated in FY16.

Ardent Leisure Group (ASX: AAD)

Shares of Ardent Leisure are trading more than 13% lower today as investors react to the news of the tragic accident that occurred late yesterday at the company’s Dreamworld theme park. The park remains closed today and it is unclear at this stage if the company faces any potential liabilities over the accident. Investors are also probably concerned about the longer term implications from the incident as it could deter visitors to the park.

a2 Milk Company Ltd (Australia) (ASX: A2M)

Shares of a2 Milk have plunged nearly 5% today as investors continue to react to yesterday’s disappointing update from Bega Cheese Ltd (ASX: BGA). The dairy company warned that it was experiencing challenging business conditions in the infant formula market mainly as a result of oversupply and massive discounting. This type of environment is obviously bad news for all infant formula makers including a2 Milk and Bellamy’s Australia Ltd (ASX: BAL), which has also lost around 3% today.

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Motley Fool contributor Christopher Georges owns shares of Ainsworth Game Technology Ltd. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of A2 Milk and Bellamy's Australia. 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.

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