There is an unbelievable number of critical stocks hitting 52-week lows this afternoon going into the options expiration date and going into the weekend. The double-dip recession fears have escalated and the risk-trade is being pulled off of the table. We have major banks, retail, tech, medical, and a defense and an exchange all breaking their 52-week lows going into the weekend. Believe it or not, short sellers, bargain hunters, and value investors alike often all look at 52-week lows in the screening.
Bankers getting their fair (or unfair) share…. Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is actually up a couple pennies at $24.46 today, but an intraday low of $24.27 broke under the prior 52-week trading range of $24.29 to $34.25. Bank of America Corporation (NYSE: BAC) also broke under the prior 52-week range of $13.01 to $19.86 and its new 52-week low is $12.75. BB&T Corp. (NYSE: BBT) is not a normal name for a bank stock that would be hitting 52-week lows considering that it is into trust services, yet the $22.90 price today definitely pierced the prior 52-week trading range of $23.25 to $35.72.
Best Buy Co. Inc. (NYSE: BBY) is another 52-week low club name today. If spending is shrinking and tech is getting ready for slower times, Best Buy can’t escape that. Shares traded as low as $32.05 today and the stock previously had a range of $32.49 to $48.83.
CME Group Inc. (NYSE: CME) is not a huge shock, although it is the only of the major trading exchanges that hit 52-week lows today. Maybe the insiders in Chicago are selling out before the disappear until after Labor Day. A low of $238.58 definitely took out the prior 52-week trading range of $240.00 to $353.03.
Computer Sciences Corporation (NYSE: CSC) is caught in the IT sandwich. It had no earnings, but a low print of $41.37 breached the prior 52-week trading range of $41.58 to $58.36.
Gap Inc. (NYSE: GPS) failed to make the grade with earnings and failed to hold up despite a new buyback plan and despite that it had already bought so much stock. Today’s low of $17.03 broke under the prior range of $17.38 to $26.34.
Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE: HPQ) is not a real shock here that it is hitting lows after earnings. While the guidance was the same as two weeks ago, no one is listening and no one believes that a Hurd-less H-P can beat those annual targets. H-P hit $39.33 today and the prior range had been $39.95 to $54.75.
MedcoHealth Solutions Inc. (NYSE: MHS) was one that was supposed to be at least somewhat less sensitive to healthcare reform. Apparently not. The low of $49.90 went under the prior 52-week range of $45.15 to $66.94.
Medtronic, Inc. (NYSE: MDT) was a surprise to see on the list. This traded as low as $34.39 and the prior 52-week range was $35.05 to $46.66.
Monster Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: MWW) is no shock to see on 52-week lows considering that jobs just aren’t coming back and are currently getting worse. Still, everyone in need of work is probably looking at Monster every night or weekend in hope of something even if it is not technically a “major” company. With a low of $10.65 today, the 52-week trading range of $10.95 to $19.28 was taken out by almost 3%.
Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) is not a huge shock to see on the list after all of the budget cuts. Despite a big contrarian research call recently that things might not be as bad as they seem in large ticket defense spending, shares hitting $43.16 definitely breached that prior 52-week trading range of $43.89.
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JON C. OGG