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While Friday marked the close of a fourth straight week of gains, the tone on Wall Street was different on Monday. Instead of optimism, there was a widespread stagnancy, as investors effortlessly digested a day of very little news. The S&P 500 Index (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC ) lost 1 point, or less than 0.1%, to close at 1,666. Sure, the broader market barely ended in the red today, but these three S&P laggards left no doubt about which way they were headed.
While it's true that meaningful macro news was hard to come by today, there was nothing neutral about the day for Red Hat (NYSE: RHT ) investors. Shares took a 4.3% beating after a BMO analyst downgraded the stock to market perform, citing a recent rally that drove the stock to unattractive levels. The $54 price target for shares in the Linux operating system provider leaves little room for appreciation.
With the health-care sector underperforming 70% of the major sectors today, it's not shocking that biotech Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN ) slipped 3.3%. While the company scored a definite win in March when its melanoma drug TVEC performed well in phase 3 trials, that alone can't be counted on as a long-term source of revenue; survival data later this year will give a better idea about how impactful this drug can really be.
Lastly, grocery chain Safeway (UNKNOWN: SWY.DL ) slumped 3.1%. Even after today's losses, stock in the grocer boasts a remarkable 35% return thus far this year. But Safeway competes in a brutally competitive industry, and as megastores like Wal-Mart flex their vast distribution networks, cost advantages, and all-in-one solutions, it may be tougher and tougher for companies like Safeway to thrive. For Safeway investors, considering the competitive threat is worthwhile: 55% of Wal-Mart's sales come from groceries alone.
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