5 Toxic Stocks to Sell Before It's Too Late

BALTIMORE ( Stockpickr) -- The S&P 500 is knocking out new highs this week, but that's not stopping some of Wall Street's biggest names from looking "toxic" as we head into March. Own these names at your own peril.

Over the course of this broad market rally, there's been a bigger-than-normal gap between the leaders and the laggards. In a very real way, the S&P 500's 22% run higher in the last 12 months has magnified the benefits of owning momentum leaders -- as well as the underperformance you'll see if you hang onto the toxic names.

Want to secure market-beating performance in 2014? Then avoiding the performance drags on your portfolio is more than half the battle. That's why we're taking a technical look today at five toxic stocks you should start selling.

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Just to be clear, the companies I'm talking about today aren't exactly junk. By that, I mean they're not next up in line at bankruptcy court. But that's frankly irrelevant; from a technical analysis standpoint, sellers are shoving around these toxic stocks right now. For that reason, fundamental investors need to decide how long they're willing to take the pain if they want to hold onto these firms in the weeks and months ahead. And for investors looking to buy one of these positions, it makes sense to wait for more favorable technical conditions (and a lower share price) before piling in.

For the unfamiliar, technical analysis is a way for investors to quantify qualitative factors, such as investor psychology, based on a stock's price action and trends. Once the domain of cloistered trading teams on Wall Street, technicals can help top traders make consistently profitable trades and can aid fundamental investors in better planning their stock execution.

So, without further ado, let's take a look at five "toxic stocks" you should be unloading.

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