Considering the big, bold question mark that has punctuated both the American and global economies in the past couple years, is it really any surprise that mega-cap stocks have been on fire lately?
And they’re in demand. As reported by The New York Times, the Russell Top 50 index tracking America’s biggest stocks is up 14% — 18% if you include the group’s dividends, which average a 2% yield. In the same period, small caps (measured by the Russell 2000) have gained just 1%, and the foreign equity-tracking MSCI EAFE Index has fallen 15%.
But just like any large group of stocks, there’s almost certain to be a few individuals that don’t quite fit the bill — and the mega-cap scene is no exception. Here’s three giant stocks to avoid:
Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) has been taking heat from all angles lately, so it seems a little unfair to target it yet again — especially considering that it barely even makes the cut as a mega-cap. Facebook is the Russell Top 50’s smallest holding at 0.16%, and its market cap recently has been knocked below that $50 billion line — after going public with a worth of more than $80 billion just a few months ago!
Still, it made the list — and this dud docket.
To start with the obvious, Facebook doesn’t offer either the stability or dividend that most mega-caps boast. FB shares haven’t been able to find a floor and have lost about 40% of their value since coming public, including a huge hit after its first earnings report — which came without any guidance for the rest of the year and showed that the company’s capital expenditures are growing rapidly. So when you think of Facebook, stability isn’t exactly what comes to mind.
Throw in future concerns, such as its difficulties in monetizing the shift to mobile, or the Aug. 17 expiration of Facebook’s lock-up period, and investors don’t get that same warm-and-fuzzy feeling that tried-and-true mega-caps like General Electric (NYSE:GE) and Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) provide.
CVS Caremark (NYSE:CVS) isn’t as obvious a dud as new-kid-on-the-block Facebook. The company is a no-doubt mega-cap worth roughly $58 billion, and its business includes more than 7,000 retail stores across the county. Still, it could be in trouble.
To start, the nation’s largest pharmacy services provider has run up near all-time highs. The success has been nice, but it’s starting to look a little overbought compared to rival Walgreen (NYSE:WAG). That’s the same Walgreen that recently announced a deal to hook back up with pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts (NASDAQ:ESRX), closing off a spigot of customers fleeing to CVS.