4 ASX stocks smashed by the market today

Despite the market seeing some strong buying action over the last few trading days there are several stocks that have opened deep in the dreaded red this morning and for a variety of reasons.

Let’s take a look at today’s top laggards among the  S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) and see if the price falls might be offering up some bargain-buying opportunities.

Veda Group Ltd (ASX: VED)

Shares in the credit and data analytics business have dropped 12 cents or 5.12% after the Fairfax press reported that major shareholder Pacific Equity Partners was looking to dump its 31.5% or $615 million stake in the business. Uncertainty over the deal appears to have shaken confidence and the price drop may present a decent opportunity for investors to take a long-term position.

Given its competitive advantages, proven track record and long growth runway, Veda looks to remain one of the best new businesses to have listed on the ASX in recent times.

Southern Cross Media Group Ltd (ASX: SXL)

Shares have dropped 3.5 cents or more than 3.5% to 89.5 cents after the group forecast first half earnings for FY15 would be down on prior guidance. The group now believes first half earnings will be down 18-20% on the prior corresponding period, rather than the original forecast of a 10-15% drop.

Southern Cross has also suffered from the decline in viewing share of programs produced by Ten Network Holdings Limited (ASX: TEN), which Southern Cross broadcasts into regional Australia.

Pacific Brands Limited (ASX: PBG)

The underwear and apparel maker is another stock out of favour with investors after a financial year 2014 year of reduced earnings and higher capital expenditure led to a ballooning pile of net debt.

Even worse in the eyes of some investors was the decision not to declare a final dividend. Although this looks prudent as the group attempts to restructure and fix the balance sheet, not declaring a dividend is an outrageous act in the eyes of some investors and has likely seen them head for the exits.

Shares dropped to a 52-week low of 42 cents this morning.

Worleyparsons Limited (ASX: WOR)

Shares in the mining services and engineering business are off more than 3% to $13.66 after the downturn in mining services continues to shake confidence in the business. Challenging conditions over the short term might be disguising the long term upside on offer thanks to the company’s leverage to the global oil, gas, and hydrocarbon sectors.

Investors may want to keep this one on the watchlist as WorleyParsons remains a solid business.

Of the businesses above I would personally be inclined to look towards Veda Group as the best long-term investment. But why consider any of these businesses when the analysts at The Motley Fool have been hard at work digging up their very best stock for 2015?

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Motley Fool contributor Tom Richardson has no financial interest in any company mentioned. You can find him on Twitter @tommyr345

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