Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over daily movements, we do like to keep an eye on market changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.
You'd think that today's anemic numbers from the National Association of Realtors -- numbers revealing a fifth straight month of fewer pending home sales -- would put a damper on the red-hot stock market. The sales, which were expected to grow by 1% in October after September's 4.6% fall, instead fell by 0.6%. The disappointment nonetheless registered vaguely somewhere in Wall Street's consciousness, as most stocks fell Monday. However, bears held a very slim advantage over the rest of the market, as just over 51% of stocks fell, and the S&P 500 Index ended down only 2 points, or 0.1%, to end at 1,802.
Shares of salesforce.com , unlike the benchmark S&P index, were firmly committed to losing ground. Salesforce stock lost 3.6% Monday as the promotional "hackathon" event the company sponsored last week turned from a fun competition used to improve its services, get media attention, and attract talent to a public dispute about the fairness of the competition. The $1 million prize, awarded to whoever built the best mobile Salesforce-based app, ended up in the hands of a company detractors claim started the competition early and whose CTO is a former Salesforce employee. Call me old-fashioned, but I'm more concerned with Salesforce's inability to actually make money.
Newfield Exploration , which explores for and produces oil and natural gas, saw shares shed 3.5% Monday. Nothing earth-shattering happened to drive down Newfield Exploration specifically, but this past weekend brought big news for the energy sector -- and the world, for that matter -- in general. Iran reached an agreement with the international community to tone down its nuclear program and allow access to its facilities by international investigators. This increased stability in the ever-volatile Middle Eastern region sent oil prices lower, and shares in the Texas-based Newfield experienced magnified losses of its own as a result.
Halliburton , which is more than 10 times the size of Newfield, also took a hit today, as shares slumped 3.3%. The materials sector and the oil and gas sector, respectively, were the two worst-performing areas of the market Monday, as markets breathed a sigh of relief over the fact that there's common ground somewhere on nuclear issues in the world's most polarized region. Shares have rallied more than 50% this year, but with the stock trading at a P/E around 25, better risk/reward opportunities abound, even in today's hot market.
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The article Today's 3 Worst Stocks in the S&P 500 originally appeared on Fool.com.Fool contributor John Divine has no position in any stocks mentioned. You can follow him on Twitter, @divinebizkid , and on Motley Fool CAPS, @TMFDivine . The Motley Fool recommends Halliburton and salesforce.com. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
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