Eight in 10 sectors advanced on Wednesday. The jobs market appears to be back at pre-recession levels. The S&P 500 Index (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) ended at a record high. Yet Marathon Petroleum Corporation (NYSE:MPC), Akamai Technologies, (NASDAQ:AKAM), and Monster Beverage Corporation (NASDAQ:MNST) all lost ground, ending as the worst performing stocks in the entire 500-stock index. The S&P as a whole, on the other hand, was up 5 points, or 0.3%, to end at 1,890.
Marathon Petroleum Corporation saw shares tumble 2.7% today. Unfortunately, there wasn't a compelling reason behind today's slump; while the pullback could be some sort of cruelly done April Fool's joke (yesterday Marathon was up by about the same amount), that seems unlikely. The stumble is more likely related to Wolfe Research initiating coverage on the refiner; Wolfe analysts gave the stock a "market perform," or "neutral" rating. As always, think twice before blindly following the advice of analysts, who are often compensated in ways that don't totally align with investor interests.
Shares of Akamai Technologies shed 2.4% Wednesday, as the tech space was one of just two market sectors to decline. Akamai, which specializes in content delivery networks, is teaming with Vubiquity on a content-as-a-service project. Akamai recently boasted after the Olympics that it was an integral part in delivering streaming coverage of the 2014 Sochi games on the Internet across the world. Until major companies become comfortable enough with their in-house streaming capabilities, Akamai should continue to grow.
Monster Beverage Corporation dropped 2% today, as fears about a widespread decline in the popularity of carbonated beverages got Wall Street's attention. Sales of carbonated soft drinks fell 3% last year, the steepest decline since 1995. That said, Monster, which makes the eponymous energy drink, isn't quite in the same category, as revenue in the energy drink subcategory is actually picking up slightly. Yesterday the stock enjoyed a small bounce from reports that Maryland regulators were reconsidering a statewide energy drink ban, but that brief point of optimism was quickly forgotten today.