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Why these 4 shares are getting pummelled today

Investors have not enjoyed a positive start to the week with the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX:XJO) falling 0.15% to 5,730 points.

The energy and consumer staples sectors have struggled today, although better performances have come from the consumer discretionary and healthcare sectors.

Four shares that have been punished heavily today, include:

Slater & Gordon Limited (ASX: SGH)

The Slater & Gordon share price has plunged more than 20% today after the embattled law firm announced a first-half loss of $425 million. Not only did the company write-off another $350 million from its UK business, it also recorded a 70% decline in earnings from its Australian business. Unfortunately, there does not appear to be an easy fix for Slater & Gordon and I think investors should steer well clear of this sinking ship.

Adairs Ltd (ASX: ADH)

The Adairs share price has tumbled 14.5% today after the manchester and homewares company announced a 35% decline in first-half profits. The company had already pre-warned the market last November that it was facing a number of headwinds, but it appears this result was significantly worse than expected thanks to tough trading conditions over the Christmas period. Unfortunately, trading conditions have not materially improved since January and this has forced Adairs to further downgrade its FY17 guidance.

Japara Healthcare Ltd (ASX: JHC)

The Japara Healthcare share price has fallen more than 7% today after the release of weaker-than-expected first-half results. Despite increasing revenues by 14.5% to $178.5 million, the aged care provider recorded a 9.9% decline in net profit after tax (NPAT) to $14.6 million. Unfortunately, the weak result has forced Japara to lower its FY17 EBITDA guidance from growth of 11%, to growth of between 7%-10%. The shares have now slumped by around 36% over the past 12 months.

Vocus Group Ltd (ASX: VOC)

The Vocus share price has dropped nearly 4% today, despite the absence of any news from the company. The telco delivered a solid first half result and re-affirmed its full year guidance last Wednesday, but it appears the market still remains sceptical about the company’s ability to deliver on its guidance. Some investors may also be disappointed with the lack of dividend growth after the Vocus board decided to maintain the interim dividend at 6 cents per share.

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Motley Fool contributor Christopher Georges owns shares of Vocus Communications Limited. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. 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.