The stock market rebounded from a poor showing last week to post sweeping gains on Monday. Eight of the 10 sectors ended in positive territory today as investors moved back into higher-risk assets, anticipating strong retail sales and robust industrial production figures later this week. That was no consolation to investors in Michael Kors (NYSE:KORS), Exelon Corporation (NYSE:EXC), and Newmont Mining Corp. (NYSE:NEM), however, as those three stocks finished toward the bottom of the S&P 500 Index (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) today. The S&P itself did well on Monday, tacking on 9 points, or 0.5%, to end at 1,977.
Michael Kors was the single-biggest decliner in the 500-stock index today, shedding 3.5%. The fall is more indicative of the troubling power held by financial media giants than anything troubling at Michael Kors' business itself. In its "Heard on the Street" column yesterday, the Wall Street Journal cautioned the luxury retailer to study the woes of its biggest rival, Coach.
Merely mentioning the two companies as contemporaries likely would have been enough to ding Michael Kors shares Monday, due to Coach's abominable performance recently. But the WSJ took it a step further, warning that Kors' focus on wholesale operations could damage its brand image and doom it to the same fate as Coach, which is set to close as many as 70 of its North American stores over the next year. Overall, the piece offers more speculation and fear-mongering than insightful caution, since Michael Kors' same-store sales are still growing healthily.
Exelon Corporation, a diversified utilities company, saw shares fall 2.6% on Monday. Given the more "risk-on" attitude of investors today, the utilities sector was by far the worst performing sector in the stock market today, slumping 1.9%. Utilities stocks are generally the closes things to bond in the equities universe, offering lower risk profiles and higher yearly dividends than most other stocks. Exelon is also fresh off an acquisition of natural gas-exporter Annova LNG late last week. Acquiring companies often pay a premium for the company they acquire, causing shares to decline slightly in the short-term.
Finally, shares of gold, copper, and silver miner Newmont Mining lost 2.4% in trade today. The stock's day-to-day fluctuations are largely at the mercy of gold prices, since that material is the company's main focus. If you were beginning to suspect that gold prices took a tumble today you'd be right -- gold lost 2.3% today, finishing at $1,306 an ounce. While its relationship with the price of gold is well-known, the case for or against Newmont's stock isn't merely determined by one's outlook on gold prices. The company is allegedly facing an impasse between selling itself to rival Barrick Gold or breaking itself up into discrete businesses. With no one quite sure which way Newmont plans to go, it's tough to have a long-term thesis on the business just yet.
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