Against the odds, stocks rallied again on Thursday, with all of the major indices making their way to record highs. The S&P 500‘s close of 2,246.19 was 0.22% higher than Wednesday’s last trade.
Not every stock ended the day with a gain, however. Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE:LVS), Horizon Pharma PLC (NASDAQ:HZNP) and Express Scripts Holding Company (NASDAQ:ESRX) each used far more than their fair share of red ink on Thursday.
Here’s a closer look at what upended each name.
Express Scripts Holding Company (ESRX)
Citron Research’s Andrew Left strikes again! The famed short-seller took aim at Express Scripts Holding Company on Thursday, tweeting that it was the “Philidor of the pharma industry”… a reference to the now failed pharmacy that was the center of a scandal that rocked Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc (NYSE:VRX) earlier this year.
Indeed, VRX shares were drubbed last year when the very same Left — a known and vocal short-seller — called Valeant out earlier in the year.
Citron’s lead analyst added he thinks ESRX could be headed to a price of $45, down 36% from its current price. Although Left offered more opinions than substantive facts to support his thesis, his reputation alone turns heads, and can send stocks lower. ESRX ended the day down 6.7%.
Horizon Pharma PLC (HZNP)
Horizon Pharma shares were also hit hard on Thursday, losing 22.5% of their value in the wake of bad news regarding one of its key research and development projects. Actimmune (interferon gamma-1b), for the treatment of Friedreich’s ataxia, didn’t perform any better than a placebo did in a phase 3 trial.
The degenerative neuro-muscular disorder isn’t a common condition — only about 5,000 people in the United States are afflicted. But, it aligns well with Horizon Pharma’s focus on the development of treatments for rare diseases.
Horizon Pharma’s Timothy P. Walbert commented, “While the results were not what we hoped for, this is the very reason why research and development is important — to find answers that may help inform future research.”
Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS)
Finally, most casino stocks ended the day deep in the red. Wynn Resorts, Limited (NASDAQ:WYNN) fell 11%, and Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd (ADR) (NASDAQ:MPEL) was off 14%. Las Vegas Sands dished out the most pain to the largest number of shareholders, however, with its 12.8% stumble.
The prod for the pullbacks was a report that Chinese regulators were lowering the limit on the amount of money that China UnionPay customers can withdraw via ATMs in gambling enclave Macau. Specifically, the daily withdrawal limit will be falling from 10,000 patacas to 5,000, effective Saturday.
The move is an effort by the country’s government to crack down on the illegal transference of the currency to outside the country. It’s not clear how much this may impact casino operators like Las Vegas Sands and Wynn. It is clear, however, that it’s some sort of blow to their bottom lines.
As of this writing, James Brumley did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.