The month of May has been quite a memorable -- and exceptionally choppy -- ride in the markets. Having ping-ponged its way out of what appeared to be a short-term correction, the benchmark S&P 500 launched a rally to secure yet another record-breaking threshold. The victory, however, was short-lived, as disappointing economic data capped overt bullish enthusiasm.
Some companies, like Humana Inc. (NYSE:HUM), managed to pick up the extra slack in the major indices in a big way. But for many other organizations, the old axiom -- sell in May and go away -- rang unfortunately true. Here then are three May laggards that investors should consider staying away from -- or dumping outright.
FX Energy, Inc.
Some stocks are so bad that they don't require any further analysis than a cursory glance at their price charts. FX Energy, Inc. (NASDAQ:FXEN) is one such name. The independent oil and gas exploration and production company, which maintains development projects in the United States and Poland, is tanking like the Exxon Valdez. Despite rising crude oil prices, the energy production sector has responded in a very fickle manner in the capital markets. Nevertheless, FX Energy has shown no signs of life and shares have dreadfully crossed underneath a buck per pop.
There's no need to flog a dead horse: bag it and tag it!
The markets are often a very cruel place: just ask ePlus Inc. (NASDAQ:PLUS). On May 28, the IT products and services provider reported a fourth quarter profit in the fiscal year 2014 of $8.9 million. A few weeks earlier, it received a prestigious industry award for excellence in business practices. Yet a day after the positive earnings announcement, PLUS quickly turned into a minus, with the company stock shedding a little over 8% of market value. Talk about here today, gone tomorrow! Pouring salt into the wound is that the sell-off has caused dramatic technical damage under extremely heavy volume, with shares suddenly straddled between the 50 and 200 day moving averages.
Unfortunately, there's no fair in the markets: It's an eat or be eaten ecosystem.
Resolute Energy Corp.
Moving back into the energy sector, Resolute Energy Corp. (NYSE:REN) has some serious catching up to do. Down more than 11% year-to-date, the challenge may prove to be too daunting for the independent oil and gas company. Making matters worse, on the last trading session for May, it dropped nearly 11% of market value, capping off six consecutive misses. Otherwise, shares would have been up more than 44% for the year! The other worrisome aspect is that since January, REN stock appears to be charting a broadening wedge formation, which typically indicates entropic market action. If the bearishness of the pattern plays out, we could be seeing stock prices well below 50-cents.
The risk of getting burnt is too dramatic: in other words, stay away!