The bears growled early on Monday, and never stopped growling. Concerned about lackluster auto sales figures for March and more uncertainty about everything that’s going on in Washington D.C., the slow-down that started to take shape late last week turned into an outright pullback today. The S&P 500 ended the session at 2,358.84, down 0.16%.
It was much worse for owners of United Therapeutics Corporation (NASDAQ:UTHR), Acorda Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:ACOR) and General Motors Company (NYSE:GM), who saw their stocks lose far more ground than the broad market did today.
Here’s a closer look at what went wrong for each.
General Motors Company (GM)
Truck sales remained firm in March, according to numbers posted by General Motors this morning. But, last month’s overall auto sales fell well short of expectations, sending GM shares down 3.4% on the first trading day of the week.
All told, GM saw a 2% increase in unit sales last month, reaching a total of 256,224 automobiles. Analysts, however, were looking for growth of anywhere between 7% and 10%.
Fanning the bearish flames that burned GM shares on Monday was an increase in inventory, suggesting the pace of car sales is slowing. The nation’s GM car lots are sitting on 98 days worth of supply, up from the 91 day supply as of the end of February. In fact, most auto-related stocks were down today on the mostly disappointing March sales numbers from GM as well as from Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F).
One bright spot: The size of incentives offered to GM buyers was pared back a bit from February’s alarmingly generous offers.
United Therapeutics Corporation (UTHR)
United Therapeutics shares suffered a double-dose of bad news on Monday. On the one hand, UTHR lost a critical patent battle, and on the other hand, it announced it was postponing the launch of a ballyhooed project.
The delayed product is pump that delivers a drug called Remodulin to patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension. The company was aiming to put it on the market this year, but regulatory delays have pushed that launch back to 2018.
Also on Monday, it was announced that United Therapeutics lost a key appeal to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Last year, Steadymed Ltd (NASDAQ:STDY) successfully challenged a patent protecting lipid molecule called prostacyclin, which was held by United Therapeutics. UTHR appealed that ruling, but failed to sway the USPTO.
UTHR ended the day down 8.4%.
Acorda Therapeutics Inc (ACOR)
Finally, UTHR wasn’t the only biopharma stock to get hit hard on Monday on the heels of patent woes. Acorda Therapeutics shares ended the day in the red to the tune of 12.4% on Monday, adding to Friday’s 27% setback.
The patents had been protecting the company’s multiple sclerosis drug Ampyra. After a closer look at the patents, a district court determined that they were invalid due to their obvious nature. That ruling opens the door to generic versions of the same basic formulation.
The company intends to appeal the ruling, but that was of little solace to ACOR investors. The aforementioned United Therapeutics just failed to win a similar appeal, as it usually the case in an appellate setting.
As of this writing, James Brumley did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.