Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over daily movements, we do like to keep an eye on market changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.
For every stock that fell on Monday, more than two gained, as investors shrugged off the Federal Reserve's two-day policy meeting set to begin tomorrow. The attitude of nonchalance that Wall Street seems to exude is misleading, though; even after today's gains, the S&P 500 Index (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC ) has fallen more than 1% in December as investors brace for a possible Fed "tapering" move. The S&P 500 did alright for itself today, though, adding 11 points, or 0.6%, to end at 1,786.
As always, not all stocks could escape the wrath of bearish investors, who sold off Safeway (NYSE: SWY ) stock to the tune of 2.4%. Shares in the grocer will go ex-dividend tomorrow, which means investors can expect more downward pressure on the stock as short-term traders rid themselves of the risk of the stock while still locking in the next quarterly dividend payment. Safeway just sold 11 of its Chicago-area Dominick's stores to Roundy's, which plans to convert the locations to upscale Mariano's stores. Chicago's Dominick's stores had lost Safeway more than $35 million in the first three quarters of 2013 alone.
Casino gaming equipment company International Game Technology (NYSE: IGT ) lost 1.6%, which was enough to rank it toward the bottom of the 500-stock index today. There was no market-moving news about International Game Technology, and analyst ratings on the stock don't clear things up, either. Deutsche Bank, for example, bestowed a $22 price target on shares in September, but maintains a hold rating on the stock. If the stock gets to $22, it would mean more than a 28% increase from today's closing levels. It's tough to see how that's a "hold," but then again, Wall Street analysts don't have the best records as investment advisors, so even an all-out endorsement wouldn't mean much here.
Lastly, shares of Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL ) also dropped 1.6%, which isn't much of a pullback given the stock's 135% gains year to date. Airline stocks have been amazing investments in general this year as consolidation of the industry drove the industry persistently higher. The main catalyst of consolidation, of course, is the American Airlines Group and US Airways merger, which has officially been completed. Even though the merger is in the books, my colleague Adam Levine-Weinberg reminds us that American Airlines' spending tendencies, in contrast to Delta's more conservative fiscal philosophy, could serve to inhibit further gains.
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