Rite Aid Slumps Again on Margin Worries, Dow Rallies to Record Close

Spurred on by another month of strong jobs growth in May, stocks were up across the board on Friday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) notched a record closing high after the Labor Department said that nonfarm payrolls increased by 217,000 last month, and total employment is now higher than its previous peak in January 2008. Twenty-one of the Dow's 30 components ended higher, as the Dow tacked on 88 points, or 0.5%, to end at 16,924.

Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT  ) was one of the few stocks in the Dow that didn't benefit from Wall Street's bullishness Friday, as shares failed to break even, losing 0.1%. At the annual shareholders meeting today, investors got a look at the company's new 47-year-old CEO Doug McMillon, who took over from Mike Duke in February. While McMillon's 30-year rise from hourly associate to top dog is indeed an inspiring career arc, many of Wal-Mart's current employees don't feel like their employer cares much about their financial livelihood. Wal-Mart workers across the nation staged strikes this week for better wages in conjunction with the shareholder meeting.

Meanwhile, shares of drugstore Rite Aid (NYSE: RAD  ) continued their two-day sell-off, losing 1.9% on Friday. The stock was clobbered to the tune of 7.4% yesterday, after the company said higher drug costs would crimp its profit margins in fiscal 2015. Rite Aid's business and stock have been on a steady tear for the last few years, as improved margins have fueled tremendous bottom-line growth. It's troubling to see margins slip like this, but even after Rite Aid's pullback, the stock is priced for tons of growth, so it's hard to say it's a screaming buy right now.

One of Melco Crown's Macau hotels, Altira. Source: company website

Shares of Melco Crown Entertainment (NASDAQ: MPEL  ) took an even bigger hit today, shedding 2.8% in trading. The casino industry in Macau -- the only place in China where gambling is legal -- has captured Wall Street's attention in recent years, as the legal monopoly that companies like Melco Crown enjoy in the region has generated jaw-dropping profits. Melco Crown itself swung from losing $2.4 billion in 2009 to generating nearly $5 billion in profits last year. But a recent slowdown in Macau's gaming growth has analysts concerned, and Wells Fargo and FBR Capital each issued notes to investors today highlighting the recent deceleration in the area.

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Related Tickers

8/28/2015 4:55 PM
^DJI $16643.01 Down -11.76 -0.07%
MPEL $18.22 Down -0.21 -1.14%
Melco Crown Entert… CAPS Rating: ****
RAD $8.24 Down +0.00 +0.00%
Rite Aid Corp CAPS Rating: ***
WMT $64.94 Down -1.14 -1.73%
Wal-Mart Stores CAPS Rating: ***