Even without the benefit of any major economic news, buyers found a reason to follow through on yesterday’s big gain today. The S&P 500‘s close of 2090.54 was not only 0.7% better than Tuesday’s last level, but left the index at its highest close in nearly four weeks.
Wednesday wasn’t a winner for every name out there though. Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA), DeVry Education Group Inc (NYSE:DV) and Energy Transfer Equity LP (NYSE:ETE) were each up-ended, for some refreshing non-earnings reasons.
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (BABA)
Investors who felt the quarterly numbers Alibaba Group Holding has been touting have been a little too good to be true may have been more right than they realize.
The company disclosed today that the Securities and Exchange Commission had begun probing for information about its policies regarding consolidated earnings and certain types of partner transactions. The SEC was also inquiring about the company’s so-called Singles Day numbers, which generates more revenue than the United States’ Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.
The SEC acknowledged that such a probe does not inherently indicate any wrongdoing. BABA shareholders weren’t willing to give the company the benefit of the doubt though, and BABA shares ended the session down nearly 7%.
DeVry Education Group Inc (DV)
Surprisingly enough, DeVry Education Group shares survived Tuesday morning’s news that its CEO, Daniel Hamburger, was stepping down from his post after nine years on the job, leaving the struggling for-profit education outfit at a vulnerable time.
DV shareholders were spooked, however, by news that DeVry subsidiary Becker Professional Education was shelling out $330 million to acquire the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists. DeVry Education isn’t exactly swimming in cash, and the deal may prove to be a significant fiscal burden with not much of a payback … if any.
Fanning the bullish flames that sent DV shares more than 13% lower on Wednesday were a whole new batch of class action lawsuits.
Energy Transfer Equity LP (ETE)
Last but certainly not least, in what’s almost become a comedic tragedy, Energy Transfer Equity LP shares lost more than 9% of their value today, followed closely by would-be partner and antagonist Williams Companies Inc (NYSE:WMB), which fell nearly 4%.
The reason? As if there was any way to circumvent it … it was officially announced today that WMB shareholders would be voting on June 27, to decide if the company should continue with its plans to merge with ETE.
A consummation is unlikely, as the oil price environment that made the deal compelling when it was first suggested in June of last year has deteriorated so much in the meantime that the pairing could prove more costly than beneficial. Indeed, Williams is also suing Energy Transfer Equity LP in front of the potential merger.
Some say the suit is an effort to get out of the deal. Other say the lawsuit is just a measure to ensure ETE proceeds fairly and appropriately.
Whatever the case, most parties on both sides of the table are so soured on the prospect of the merger they would simply prefer to avoid it altogether. Next month’s vote keeps the possibility alive, however.
As of this writing, James Brumley did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.