After pushing stocks to record highs (again) on Tuesday, investors may have been hoping for something a little more specific and tangible in this afternoon’s release of the minutes from the most recent meeting of the Federal Reserve’s governors. They didn’t get it, leaving the market to mostly drift non-directionally on Wednesday. The S&P 500 ended the session at 2362.82, down a modest 0.11%.
Not every stock managed to merely drift sideways, though. Williams Companies Inc (NYSE:WMB), First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) and Texas Roadhouse Inc (NASDAQ:TXRH) each found a way to make remarkable moves lower.
Here’s the deal.
Texas Roadhouse Inc (TXRH)
The bears were hungry for restaurateur Texas Roadhouse today, and were more than happy to sink their teeth into TXRH shares.
The company’s disappointing fourth-quarter report did the damage. Texas Roadhouse earned 29 cents per share on revenue of $484 million. Problem is, analysts were expecting earnings of 38 cents per share of TXRH and a top line of $497.2 million. Worse, though sales were up on a year-over-year basis, per-share income was 3 cents lower.
What really rattled TXRH shareholders, though, was the sharp slowing in same-store sales growth. The pace petered to only 1.2%. The company’s press release further suggested similarly slow sales growth for the quarter currently underway.
That was enough to send TXRH to a loss of 12.3%.
Williams Companies Inc (WMB)
Wednesday was a tough day for most energy-related stocks, but in terms of total damage inflicted on investors, Williams Companies earned the dubious honor of being named today’s worst performer. WMB shares closed 3.0% lower for the session.
The wave of selling was arguably rooted more in assumption than data. Although the U.S. dollar was up and consequently oil prices were down, the greenback was only up about a quarter-percent, and crude oil prices were down only a manageable 1.4%. Still, investors were concerned enough to shed oil stocks in earnest.
The crux of the sector’s weakness on Wednesday likely stemmed from the aforementioned release of the Federal Reserve’s minutes for its most recent meeting. While the Federal Open Market Committee remains content to do nothing for the time being, it’s pretty clear that at least one rate hike is going to materialize sooner than later. That works in favor of the U.S. dollar, and therefore works against commodity prices.
First Solar, Inc. (FSLR)
Last but not least, solar power company First Solar may have managed to top expectations for its recently completed Q4, but a massive write-down spooked several analysts into a downgrade of the stock.
For the quarter ending in December, FSLR earned $1.24 per share with a top line of $480.4 million. Although both were down by double-digits compared to the same quarter a year earlier, both figures also handily topped expectations for a profit of 97 cents per share of FSLR and sales of $392 billion.
Nevertheless, FSLR lost 8.3% of its value on Wednesday after recording a $729 million restructuring charge, and finding itself on the receiving end of a few too many downgrades.
Credit Suisse was one of the names that lowered its official opinion on First Solar. The company reclassified FSLR from a “Hold” to a “Sell” on concerns that its current portfolio won’t likely lead to the organization’s anticipated earnings growth.
As of this writing, James Brumley did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.