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That weeping sound you hear is the collective cry of investors who've witnessed the broad-based S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC ) rise on 20 consecutive Tuesdays and saw that streak decisively broken today.
In spite of strong auto sales figures yesterday, investors remain concerned about the state of consumer spending and what might happen if the Federal Reserve pares back its bond-buying campaign consisting of long-term Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities. I know this is becoming a common theme -- and I expect it to remain so for quite a while -- but until the Fed actually does pare back its bond purchases, speculation of "will they or won't they" is likely to rule many of the day-to-day actions.
For the day, the S&P 500 ended lower by 9.04 points (-0.55%) to close at 1631.38. In spite of breaking a 20-week-long streak of gains, three companies shrugged off today's weakness and headed solidly higher.
Energy drink maker Monster Beverage (NASDAQ: MNST ) ascended to the heavens, up 10.5%, following comments from CEO Rodney Sacks, who reiterated the safety of the company's energy drinks in the wake of an ongoing Food and Drug Administration probe into their safety and noted that sales trends are improving. Sacks was quick to point out that this isn't necessarily indicative of a long-term improvement in sales trends, but investors are nonetheless thrilled to see sales picking up. I, however, would suggest exercising caution as the regulatory cloud over the energy drink sector is growing and Monster isn't growing at nearly the same rate it was even a year ago.
Iron ore and metallurgical coal producer Cliffs Natural Resources (NYSE: CLF ) added 6.1% just a day after iron ore prices touched lows not seen since last summer. Cliffs relies on stable iron ore prices to boost its margins and produce the cash flow needed to pay down its debt and maintain its mines. Today's move higher seems more like a rebound from recent weakness than anything else. I've had Cliffs Natural on my Watchlist for some time as I suspect demand from China, India, and other emerging markets will help put a floor under iron ore prices sooner than later, which would be beneficial to Cliffs.
Finally, mail logistics software solutions company Pitney Bowes (NYSE: PBI ) jumped 3.7% after announcing the appointment of Roger Pilc as executive vice president and chief innovation officer. Pilc will be a welcome face for Pitney Bowes, which has struggled under the weight of lower physical mail volume and increasing competition. Pilc, who comes over from CA Technologies (NASDAQ: CA ) , helped head CA's cloud development segment, which may transform CA back into a high-growth company over the next few years as it invests heavily in R&D. Pitney Bowes certainly needs as many ideas as it can get to stem a precipitous downtrend in sales, so we'll have to see how this move works out for all parties involved.
Can this company iron out its wrinkles?
Cliffs Natural Resources has grown from a domestic iron ore producer into an international player in both the iron ore and metallurgical coal markets. It has also underwhelmed investors lately, especially after its dramatic 76% dividend cut in February. However, it could now be looked at as a possible value play due to several factors that are likely to remain advantageous for Cliffs' management. For details on these advantages and more, click here now to check out The Motley Fool's premium research report on the company.