Investing

When Stocks Hit 52-Week Lows... Ships, Housing, and China (AMR, CYH, FRO, OSG, HOV, PMI, TREE, CXS, CCCL, CNAM, QKLS, SCOK, TSTC, GFRE)

It is hard to call the market weak right now even if today was a mixed day.  We have seen a meteoric rise from the bottom.  So what happens when you see companies hitting 52-week lows when the broad market is still very high?  Chances are, something has really gone awry and there are big risks.  We could not help but notice how Community Health Systems, Inc. (NYSE: CYH) fell sharply by more than 35% to $25.89 after being sued by Tenet Healthcare Corp.  (NYSE:THC).  Frontline Ltd. (NYSE: FRO) and Overseas Shipholding Group Inc. (NYSE: OSG) both hit 52-week lows showing that transport of crude is not riskless in a time of high energy prices.

In the world of mortgages and housing, we saw new 52-week today in Hovnanian Enterprises (NYSE: HOV), PMI Group Inc. (NYSE: PMI), and Tree.Com (NASDAQ: TREE). Crexus Investment Corp. (NYSE: CXS) found pain in mortgages and specialty finance here as its shares closed down 1.9% at $10.89 versus a new 52-week range of $10.85 to $13.89.

Trust of smaller companies in China is still hard to come by as well.  China Ceramics Co., Ltd. (NASDAQ: CCCL) produces ceramic tiles for residential and commercial buildings and its ADR closed down 6.26% at $4.87 and it hit a low of $4.71 versus a 52-week high of $10.10.  China Armco Metals, Inc. (NASDAQ: CNAM) is in the sale and distribution of ore and non-ferrous metals in China; its ADR closed down almost 8% at $2.20 versus a low of $2.18 hit today and versus a 52-week high of $8.28.  QKL Stores Inc. (NASDAQ: QKLS) is a grocery store  chain in China and shares hit a 52-week low of $2.39 and closed down 5.6% at $2.50 today.  SinoCoking and Coke Chemical Industries, Inc. (NASDAQ: SCOK) is for coal in China and shares hit a low of $5.65 and closed down almost 4% at $5.79 versus a 52-week high of $27.20.  Ouch.  Telestone Technologies Corp. (NASDAQ: TSTC) in China for IT closed down 6.7% at $5.82 after hitting a low of $5.75 versus a 52-week high of $18.88.  Gulf Resources, Inc. (NASDAQ: GFRE) has a new 52-week range of $5.01 to $12.00 and its shares closed down 9.5% at $5.12 today.  This one is into bromine, crude salt, and chemical products for China.

Imagine how well these would be doing if the market was falling apart.

JON C. OGG

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