These 3 Stocks Were Sequestered

Whee! Sequestration is fun. The Dow Jones Industrial Average tacked on 126 points yesterday, causing the index to reach new record highs as traders shrugged off the supposed ill effects across-the-board cuts would engender. But not for the three stocks below, which incurred double-digit losses on the day. For them it was a day filled with as much doom and gloom as the budget warriors suggested we would feel.

Of course, don't go running over the cliff with them like a bunch of lemmings. This could just be a temporary situation. Let's first see whether they had good reason to fall as panic-fueled routs can sometimes lead to excellent buying opportunities.


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Impax Laboratories


SandRidge Mississippian Trust I


J.C. Penney


If at first you don't succeed...
Specialty pharmaceutical Impax Laboratories just can't seem to get it right. The FDA keeps telling Impax it has problems at its Hayward manufacturing facility, and while the pharma clears up most of the legacy issues, new ones inevitably crop up. Impax's stock lost more than a quarter of its value yesterday after the regulatory agency said for the third time that it had problems and the stock is down 44% from its 52-week high.

The problem began back in 2011 when the FDA issued a warning letter and then followed it up a year later saying that although the original problems were addressed, it found new problems in its quality control laboratory. Then when the regulatory agency came back again to see what progress was made in remedying the deficiencies, the FDA issued a new Form 483 with nine more problem areas plus three it said were repeat offenses from its prior inspections.

The FDA won't allow Impax to use the Hayward facility as a manufacturing location of finished dosage forms until it resolves this matter and after two years of trying and failing, investors are right to wonder whether it will ever be able to get its act together.

Tomorrow's monster opportunity
The SandRidge Mississippian Trust I continues to suffer the fallout from its poorly received earnings report last month, which indicated that distributions would continue to be weak because of higher costs, lower production, and a higher mix of natural gas being produced. With natural gas weighed down by depression-level pricing, producing more of it will severely impact its ability to make higher payouts. Analysts at Wunderlich used that as their justification for downgrading the trust to a sell rating.

No doubt there is concern about the short-term outlook, but it's my belief that natural gas is going to lead a huge economic boom in the future. It won't change energy costs at the consumer level per se, but rather it will spur energy cost reductions for manufacturers and producers that will ultimately lead to lower-cost consumer goods. Those lower input costs will drive profitability and the NG producers that languish today will be tomorrow's stars, but it will take a degree of patience on the part of investors to realize those goals. In the interim, expect the Mississippian Trust to wallow in new lows.

Penny for your thoughts
Mid-tier department store retailer J.C. Penney is also suffering from a crisis of confidence. Vornado Realty Trust said it sold almost half its stake in the retailer, or 10 million shares, at $16.40 per share.

They say you don't realize a loss until you actually sell your stock, but it's also noted you don't hang onto shares simply to get back to break even as that might never happen. Vornado experienced a $225 million fourth-quarter loss on its Penney holdings and its decision to sell suggests that it believes the likelihood of it recouping that loss anytime soon is bleak.

Penney has yet to recover from its disastrous low-price-everyday strategy that drove away customers in droves, and now it faces another crisis that may result in its displaying only empty shelves.

The doyenne of good taste Martha Stewart is embattled in a legal tussle with Macy's over who gets to sell her wares. The department store chain has an exclusive arrangement with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, but Penney's sells items that aren't a part of the contract. Macy's, however, contends "exclusive" means just that, and if a judge rules in its favor, Penney's will have to pull those products from its shelves, making it even harder to attract shoppers.

Vornado may be right to get while the getting's good, though we may see more selling in the weeks ahead as it apparently can't sell additional stock before March 11. J.C. Penney may have another doorbuster sale real soon, but this time it's going to be on its stock.

Ready for a resurrection

J.C. Penney has been a train wreck whose comeback always seems just around the next earnings corner, but investors are beginning to doubt if CEO Ron Johnson can weave the same magic that he did at Apple. If you're wondering whether J.C. Penney is a buy today, you're invited to claim a copy of The Motley Fool's must-read report on the company. Learn everything you need to know about JCP's turnaround-or lack thereof. Simply click here now for instant access.

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