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Leading the ASX down

Since hitting a high of 5,163.5 points in early March, the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) has fallen to a two-month low of 4,883.7 today, with each of the big four banks, Woolworths Limited (ASX: WOW) and Wesfarmers Limited (ASX: WES) all losing out, however, these were by no means the worst performers for the day.

Sirtex Medical Limited (ASX: SRX) was the worst performer in the top 200 today, trading 16.28% cheaper at a low as $9.36 at around 2:00pm. The biotechnology and medical device group today released their third quarter report for dose sales. The report did little to please investors however, despite this quarter being the company’s 35th consecutive quarter of positive growth with sales of its SIR-Spheres growing 6.3% from last year.

The group’s SIR-Spheres microspheres are a form of therapy for liver cancer. In a market with huge potential for growth, investors were disappointed with the result after growth of 25% was recognised in sales in the second quarter.

Despite today’s losses, Sirtex has still had a very impressive run for the year. Having been valued at $5.22 per share last April, at its lowest point today the shares had still gained in excess of 79% for investors. Shares finished trading down 7.6% at $10.33.

Virgin Australia Holdings (ASX: VAH) was another ASX 200 company down in trading today, with shares impacted by the release of its preliminary operating statistics for February. Whilst the company pointed out that there was one less day this February (with last year being a Leap year), the report outlined that the number of passengers carried in February had decreased by 2.5%. Shares in the company fell 4.7% today to $0.405 per share, after being traded for as high as $0.515 in November last 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 contributor Ryan Newman does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article.

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