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3 ASX stocks punished by the market today

The S&P / ASX 200 Index (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) has dropped by 0.3% to close at 4,907.5 today. That’s despite the Dow Jones index rising more than 1% on Friday, and closing above the psychologically important (but otherwise unimportant) level of 14,000 for the first time since October 2007.

The Australian dollar is stronger against the US dollar, currently buying around 104.2 US cents.

These three stocks were among the worst performers in the ASX 200, falling more than 3%.

Discovery Metals Group (ASX: DML) fell more than 8% to close at 95.5 cents. Despite having a takeover offer on the table at $1.70 per share from a Chinese private equity suitor, investors appear to have taken the view that the bid for the emerging copper producer is unlikely to go ahead. Discovery may have also fallen afoul of investors due to higher than expected operating costs and other issues at its flagship copper mine in Botswana.

Silver Lake Resources (ASX: SLR) lost 7.4% to end at $2.37, with the company’s shares following the sliding gold price – which is mainly due to investors being more optimistic about a US economic recovery. Mostly upbeat US data has taken the shine off the metal, which is generally in high demand when economies are turning sour. At current prices, Silver Lake appears cheap considering production is forecast to more than quadruple to 400,000 ounces of gold in 2014.

Aquila Resources Limited (ASX: AQA) dropped 3.9% to end at $3.00, after the company announced that it had put its $7.4 billion iron ore project on hold at least until the end of June, due to funding difficulties. At the same time, iron ore giant, Rio Tinto has had a $3 billion expansion of its Nammuldi iron ore mine approved by the West Australian government, which goes to show that smaller iron ore miners are most at risk of falling iron ore prices, while the biggest can keep adding more supply.

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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 Discovery Metals and Silver Lake.

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