Sometimes it doesn't matter which way the economic trends swing -- the market just wants to head lower.
Just yesterday, it shed a few pounds on news from Cyprus that it would tax Cypriot savings accounts in order to receive a bailout. Today, the broad-based S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) retreated again following a vote on this savings tax bill, which did not get the required votes in Cyprus' parliament. Without this tax, there's no guarantee of bailout funds and there's a prospect that Cyprus could be forced to declare bankruptcy. What this comes down to is a matter of uncertainty. The market loathes uncertainty, and the past two days are evidence to that.
For the day, the S&P 500 dipped 3.76 points (-0.24%) to close at 1,548.34. However, just as we witnessed yesterday, the dip provided ample opportunity for three stocks to shine.
Today's top two gainers within the S&P 500 come courtesy of a newly signed partnership. Walgreen (NASDAQ:WBA) and U.S. drug wholesaler AmerisourceBergen (NYSE:ABC) rallied 5.4% and 3.6%, respectively, after the two announced a 10-year agreement worth somewhere around $400 billion. The two entities, along with Alliance Boots in Europe, will pool their purchasing power to buy generic and branded prescription drugs around the globe. This initial investment by Walgreen/Alliance Boots gives them a 7% stake in AmerisourceBergen and cuts to an end a drug wholesale relationship between Walgreen and Cardinal Health (NYSE:CAH). With a rapidly expanding and efficient drug delivery network, Walgreen is setting a foundation that should put it light years ahead of CVS Caremark if it doesn't step up and follow suit in quick fashion.
Following up these two top performers is energy-drink maker Monster Beverage (NASDAQ:MNST), which moved higher by 3.3%. The ironic part about the move higher on a day when the S&P is down is that a midday press release from Bloomberg noted that top doctors around the country wrote the FDA requesting they limit the amount of caffeine in energy drinks. The letter, sent to the FDA and signed by 18 doctors, requests that energy drinks be limited to a similar amount of caffeine to what's found in soda. The prospect of increased regulation is precisely what keeps me on the sidelines here and why, even after its fall from grace, I still think there's more downside than upside to Monster Beverage.