Tickers in this Article: MTB, ADBE, MON, SLE, AIB
Most stock market investors went home happy in September 2010, as the Standard and Poor's 500 index ended the month up 9%, the best September performance in 71 years. Despite this strong gain, not all stocks moved higher during the month, with several clunkers disappointing investors.

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Is It Justified?
Monsanto
(NYSE:MON) was the worst performing stock in the S&P 500 in September, falling 9% during the month. Monsanto has been in a downtrend for most of 2010, except for a brief respite during the summer, when the stock showed a little sign of life. Investors seem concerned about the acceptance and effectiveness of the company's new SmartStax corn seed product. This product has not lived up to its expectations according to some analysts and investors.

Adobe Systems (Nasdaq:ADBE) fell 6% during September, and achieved that performance the old fashioned way as the company cut its business outlook for the fourth fiscal quarter. Investors fled en masse from the stock, clipping 20% off its value in one day. This may have been a little harsh as the company also reported the highest revenue ever during the just ended third fiscal quarter.

Bank Woes
M & T Bank
(NYSE:MTB) fell 4% in September. The stock has whipsawed over the last six months as traders speculate about the possibility of the bank being involved in a deal with Banco Santander SA. The latest rumor had Banco Santander SA merging its U.S. banking unit with M & T Bank. Unfortunately for M & T Bank shareholders, Banco Santander SA recently issued a statement that it was no longer interested in pursuing this deal.

Also, Allied Irish Banks (NYSE:AIB) owns a 22.4% stake in M & T Bank, and has outlined its intention to sell this stake. Allied Irish Banks is having problems with credit and needs to raise a significant amount of capital to meet regulatory requirements.

Competitive Disadvantage
Sara Lee
(NYSE:SLE) also had a negative return in September, falling 6% during the month. This weak performance occurred even though the company held an analyst meeting in September at which the company outlined its optimistic strategy for 2011 and beyond. The North American bakery business is suffering from weak margins relative to its competitors, and the company must deal with rising prices for its ingredients, including wheat and sugar. Sara Lee fell by 6% during the month.

Bottom Line
Most equity investors had a smile on their face when September ended, but the shareholders of these four stocks did not share that happiness. The issue now is whether the weak performance will continue in October and through the end of 2010. (For more stock analysis, check out Top Canadian Dividend Stocks.)

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