Although stocks got Tuesday started on a bullish foot, the optimism faded by midday. A measurable gain that pushed the S&P 500 within sight of a new record high withered away as the day wore on, and the index’s close of 2,268.95 was essentially even with Monday’s last trade.
Some stocks didn’t escape with a mere break even on Tuesday, however. Fitbit Inc (NYSE:FIT), Merrimack Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:MACK) and Williams Companies Inc (NYSE:WMB) each ended the session deep in the red, albeit for understandable reasons.
Williams Companies Inc (WMB)
Seemingly never short on drama, oil and gas infrastructure outfit Williams Companies managed to put itself back in the limelight today. Not in a good way this time, though. WMB ended the day down by a hefty 10.7%.
The crux of the selling was in response to news that the pricing of its secondary offering of 65 million shares wouldn’t be quite as strong as expected — $29 per share, or roughly 9% less than Monday’s closing price.
Aside from the dilution (and lackluster proceeds for it), WMB shareholders may be less than thrilled with the fact that all of it is going to be redirected towards the purchase of Williams Partners LP (NYSE:WPZ), which just cut its dividend payment by nearly 30%. That investment will help pay the 50% improvement in the dividend WMB is currently paying, as also promised by Williams Companies on Monday. The relationship between the two outfits is increasingly obfuscated though, particularly now that another round of fund-raising is being factored in.
Crude oil’s 2.3% tumble on Tuesday also played a role in the pullback.
Merrimack Pharmaceuticals Inc (MACK)
The good news is, Merrimack Pharmaceuticals sold a big piece of its cancer portfolio to Ipsen SA for $1.025 billion. The bad news is, Merrimack Pharmaceuticals sold a big piece of its cancer portfolio to Ipsen SA for $1.025 billion.
That wasn’t a statement meant to be coy or clever. Rather, the point is that investors, initially stoked about the deal, had second thoughts later on Monday after MACK opened up 33%, only to end the day a mere 2% higher. Today’s 7.3% setback is a continuation of yesterday’s intra-day reversal.
While more cash and less distraction is a step in the right direction for the loss-making company, Merrimack Pharmaceuticals shareholders remain concerned that the company is still in retreat-mode despite a wave of encouraging developments in 2016.
Fitbit Inc (FIT)
Finally, in an effort to spark some much needed growth, struggling fitness tracker company Fitbit made another acquisition today that once again displeased investors.
The biggest name in wearables was on top of the world two years ago, shortly after the IPO, and when its wrist-worn activity trackers were all the rage. The fad came and went pretty quickly though, with the 86% slide FIT shares have dished out since mid-2015 a reflection of the company’s surprisingly disappointing fiscal results.
To combat slumping sales, Fitbit acquired defunct rival Pebble’s intellectual property in early December. Today, the company announced it was acquiring particular pieces of Vector Watch … another struggling rival. And once again, the 5.9% pullback FIT suffered today says the market doesn’t believe that was money well spent, in that it doesn’t address the underlying demand problem, which is ultimately a functionality problem.
As of this writing, James Brumley did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.