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Slumped. Slammed. Smashed

The S&P/ASX 200 index (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) has closed flat, rising just 0.4 points to 4,316.1. Investors are likely sitting on their hands before the weekend meeting of US finance officials including Federal Reserve chairman, Ben Bernanke. Two years ago, he mentioned a number of policy options to stimulate the economy, including a second round of bond purchases, or quantitative easing as it is known.

Investors are likely hoping for the announcement of a third round of bond purchases, but could be disappointed, as speculation mounts that he’s also sitting on his hands, waiting to review more economic data. The US government’s report on August unemployment is due out in two weeks, and a meeting with the rest of the Fed’s policy committee is also due then.

Despite the flat market, investors slammed these three stocks.

APN News and Media (ASX: APN) saw its shares smashed down 27% to 28.5 cents, after its chief financial officer, Peter Myers quit after 10 years in the role. Just two weeks ago, the company reported a $485 million pre-tax writedown on the value of its New Zealand newspaper business, which propelled it to a six-month loss of $319 million. Investors appear to have lost faith in management, and punished the company accordingly.

Shares in Virgin Australia Holdings (ASX: VAH) slipped 7.2% to end at 45 cents, despite reporting a turnaround full year profit of $23 million two days ago, following a loss in 2011. Perhaps the price falls were a result of the company missing analyst expectations of a $48 million profit. Virgin is in a fierce contest with Qantas for corporate travellers, as the company moves from being a low cost operator, to a full service domestic airline.

Fairfax Media’s (ASX: FXJ) shares slumped 5.6% to 42 cents, following large falls late last week, as investors appear to still be concerned about the company’s ability to weather the weak advertising market, and produce more profit from its newspapers. The company wrote down the value of its intangible assets by $2.8 million last Thursday, due to declining revenues from many of its publishing operations.

The Foolish bottom line

While these three companies got smashed today, the overall market still finished flat. That means some companies rose while these ones fell. Successful investing is about finding the best companies and paying an attractive price.

If you’re in the market for some high yielding ASX shares, look no further than our “Secure Your Future with 3 Rock-Solid Dividend Stocks” report. In this free report, we’ve put together our best ideas for investors who are looking for solid companies with high dividends and good growth potential. Click here now to find out the names of our three favourite income ideas. But hurry – the report is free for only a limited time.

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Motley Fool writer/analyst Mike King owns shares in JB Hi-Fi. The Motley Fool’s purpose is to help the world invest, better. Take Stock is 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. Click here now to request your free subscription, whilst it’s still available. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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