Inspired by the sharp plunge in the value of the U.S. dollar and all the benefits that brings with it, the bulls charged into stocks early today. They weren’t quite as bold by the time the closing bell rang, but the S&P 500‘s close of 2,204.71 was still 0.58% better than Friday’s last trade.
Not every stock managed to jump on the bullish bandwagon though. LPL Financial Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:LPLA), Agios Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:AGIO) and Humana Inc (NYSE:HUM) each ended the day rather deep in the red.
Here’s a closer look at what went wrong.
Humana Inc (HUM)
Any Humana shareholders hoping for an eleventh-hour reprieve were disappointed on Monday morning. The U.S. Department of Justice forged ahead with its suit against Aetna Inc (NYSE:AET) this morning, explaining to the court why it shouldn’t be allowed to acquire rival Humana.
Although only the opening arguments and initial introduction of the plaintiff’s case have been laid out, the 2.2% pullback from HUM and a similarly big pullback from AET suggests things already look for bleak for the two companies’ plans to become one. Department of Justice attorney Craig Conrath argued that the elimination of another competitor would lead to higher Medicare premiums as well as higher prices for customers of health insurance policies available under the Affordable Care Act.
It’s not just HUM and AET shareholders on pins and needles right now, however. The Department of Justice is in the midst of similar case against CIGNA Corporation (NYSE:CI) and Anthem Inc (NYSE:ANTM), which also want to team-up.
Both trials should be over by early January.
Agios Pharmaceuticals Inc (AGIO)
Drugmaker Agios Pharmaceuticals tried its best to accentuate the positives with this weekend’s update on the development of two of its highly watched drugs. But, AGIO shareholders weren’t distracted from the fact that the outcome of the trials in question so far were a tad lackluster.
The company reported a phase 2 trial update on AG-348 as a treatment for pyruvate kinase (PK) deficiency, and simultaneously, reported a phase 1 update on AG-519 as a PKR activator. AG-348, broadly speaking, created a response rate of 58%, versus 68% in an earlier, smaller sampling. The results suggest AG-348 may not be as widely applicable as once thought.
It’s certainly not an outright failure; phase 2 is still too soon to be drawing sweeping conclusions. AGIO owners were concerned enough, however, to send the stock 12.5% lower today.
LPL Financial Holdings Inc (LPLA)
Last but not least, LPL Financial Holdings shares slumped 3.7% on Monday following news that CEO Mark Casady would be stepping down next month. LPL Financial Holdings will be left in good hands, with President Dan Arnold ready to step into the role, but any major personnel transition poses disruption risk — investors expressed that concern today.
That said, LPLA was particularly vulnerable anyway. Shares had rallied 148% from February’s low, and profit-takers were starting to get antsy. The news of Casady’s exit was a suitable prompt for some to make an exit.
As of this writing, James Brumley did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.
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