The S&P 500 Index (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) finished higher for a sixth time in the last seven days, reaching yet another all-time closing record on Monday. Six out of 10 sectors finished higher as manufacturing data in the U.S. and China reassured investors that the global economic recovery isn't in danger of ending anytime soon. Shareholders invested in Lorillard, (UNKNOWN:LO.DL), Diamond Offshore Drilling (NYSE:DO), and Transocean Ltd. (NYSE:RIG) didn't get the memo, however, as each stock ended near the bottom of the S&P today.
Tobacco giant Lorillard shed 2.6% today, as the recent gains enjoyed by investors are showing signs of eroding. Lorillard is at the center of acquisition rumors, as Reynolds American is thought to be mulling a bid for the largest U.S. cigarette maker. At this point, each day that passes without a firm offer from Reynolds threatens to send the stock lower, since an acquisition would almost certainly entail a sizable premium to today's market value. As recently as Sunday, Wells Fargo thought a deal was highly probable, so don't write it off just yet.
The final two laggards of the day both hail from the same industry: offshore oil drillers. Shares of Diamond Offshore Drilling, for instance, slumped 2.3% Monday. Contract drillers like Diamond Offshore make their bread-and-butter on the "day rates" they charge oil producers to make use of their rigs. The rate that producers have been willing to pay has been declining recently, and until that trend reverses, the economics of Diamond Offshore's business look risky at best.
Fellow contract driller Transocean also lost the popularity contest on Wall Street today, slumping 2.1%. While both Transocean and Diamond Offshore felt industry-related pushback from investors Monday, let's keep in mind that these are indeed two separate companies with two different investment profiles. One of the major reasons Transocean looks attractive at current levels is the stock's whopping 7.1% annual dividend, a substantial income guarantee that Transocean can easily afford to pay. And unless day rates take a sudden, precipitous decline, that robust dividend should remain realistic.
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