Stocks started Tuesday’s action on a bearish foot, though before the selloff turned into a chain reaction, the bulls managed to push back. By the time the closing bell rang, the S&P 500 was at 2353.78, down 0.14% versus Friday’s close. February’s seven-month high in the number of job openings wasn’t enough to get the market moving in a meaningful way.
Tuesday wasn’t a mild day across the board, however, with United Continental Holdings Inc (NYSE:UAL), Snap Inc (NYSE:SNAP) and AmTrust Financial Services Inc (NASDAQ:AFSI) all leading the laggards lower.
Here’s a closer look at what up-ended each name.
United Continental Holdings Inc (UAL)
In the grand scheme of things, it could have been worse.
On Sunday, United Airlines — a division of United Continental Holdings — forced a passenger off of a plane to make room for a flight crew traveling to the same destination. To say it snowballed into a public relations nightmare would be an understatement. The man, bloodied, was dragged off the plane with his shirt pulled over his head by police officers, and it was all captured on video by other passengers’ smartphones.
It looked as if UAL shares would survive the embarrassing incident when the stock held up reasonably well early on Monday. Once those videos went viral Monday evening though, and the story was then picked up by news outlets nationwide, the 1.1% pullback UAL dished out today was actually quite gentle.
Factoring in the volume swell behind the move though, UAL dished out a little pain to a lot of people.
Snap Inc (SNAP)
Tuesday’s not the first time Snapchat parent company Snap has made its way to the daily ‘worst 3’ list. It’s not just the second or third time either. It’s a regular occurrence. The underlying reason SNAP was off another 1.3% today, though, is a familiar theme. That is, Instagram has copied yet-another feature of Snapchat, giving consumers another reason to stick with the Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) platform rather than defect to (or remain with) Snapchat.
The latest chapter in the saga: On Tuesday, Instagram unveiled a new feature that allows for message and pictures to disappear shortly after they’re delivered, just like Snapchat’s platform does. Also like Snapchat, should a recipient of a text message or photograph take a screenshot of that message, the sender is notified.
Facebook’s Instagram has almost matched Snapchat’s every move, not giving the newcomer much of a chance to build its business.
AmTrust Financial Services Inc (AFSI)
Last but not least, insurer AmTrust Financial Services shares has already been fighting a losing battle, having fallen 32% between February’s high and Monday’s close. With today’s 18.9% plunge from AFSI, though the stock has been cut in half in less than two months.
The prod for the selloff was reports that the company was being probed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The interesting nuance of the story; however, is that a secret recording made by the SEC back in 2014 was the basis for the investigation now underway. Even more interesting is that the recording was made by one of the company’s outside accountants, using a recording device disguised as a Starbucks gift card.
The agency is reportedly most interested in the company’s accounting.
As of this writing, James Brumley did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.