Why Ulta Beauty Inc (ULTA), Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc (VRX) and GameStop Corp. (GME) Are 3 of Today’s Worst Stocks

The market got started on a bullish foot today but struggled to hold onto those gains as the day wore on. Though this week’s gain quelled a sizeable two-week setback, investors remain unsure as to the direction of the market’s undertow.

They’re also still trying to sort out what Janet Yellen and Mario Draghi really said at the Jackson Hole meeting today. When all was said and done, traders were content to leave the S&P 500 at 2443.09 today, up a modest 0.17%.

That would have been considerably more preferable than the losses Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc (NYSE:VRX), GameStop Corp. (NYSE:GME) and Ulta Beauty Inc (NASDAQ:ULTA) took on Friday, however. Here’s what went wrong with each.

Ulta Beauty Inc (ULTA)

Whether beauty-supply retailer and salon operator Ulta Beauty did well last quarter is largely a matter of perspective. The 9.1% loss ULTA shares suffered on Friday, though, says the market’s perspective on the company’s fiscal second quarter is a grim one.

For the period ending in July, Ulta Beauty turned $1.29 billion worth of revenue into earnings of $1.83 per share. The top line met the market’s expectation, while the bottom line was better than the $1.78 per share analysts had modeled. Same-store sales grew 11.7%.

So why such a big setback for ULTA shares? As impressive as last quarter’s results were, Ulta Beauty is a victim of its own success. Shareholders are accustomed to higher growth rates and don’t know what to think now that the year-over-year comparative contends against smaller numbers.

GameStop Corp. (GME)

If you thought the 9.1% tumble Ulta Beauty shares took on Friday was bad, take a look at the 10.9% plunge shares of GameStop made today.

Earnings were once again the culprit. Last quarter, the video-game retailer earned 15 cents per share versus expectations of 16 cents per share of GME. Though revenue of $1.69 billion topped expectations of only $1.62 billion for the company’s second quarter of the year and sales were up on a year-over-year basis, profits were down.

GameStop has been increasingly struggling as downloadable games have displaced disc-based and cartridge-based games. The company has remained as relevant as possible, but last quarter’s numbers confirm the market’s fears that earnings are going to weaken as the retailer faces competition that’s almost unfairly advantaged.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc (VRX)

Finally, although selling pressure had been brewing in Valeant Pharmaceuticals for several days now, the catalyst needed to get that ball rolling finally became evident today.

That is, mutual fund company Lord Abbett officially filed a securities fraud lawsuit against Valeant on Wednesday. Bloomberg noted the developing this morning, adding that it could prove quite expensive to wage that legal battle.

And it’s no ordinary lawsuit. The type of claim Lord Abbott is making could translate into penalties of three times as much as the fund company actually lost on its VRX positions. Though Valeant has faced similar suits in the past (and is still battling others), this one could cost the company tens of billions — if not hundreds of billions — of dollars.

Valeant has faced similar suits in the past (and is still battling others), but this one could cost the company tens of billions, if not hundreds of billions.

Concerned shareholders sent VRX to a loss of 4.2% today.

As of this writing, James Brumley did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities. Follow him on Twitter, at @jbrumley.

« Spotify Moves Closer to IPO After Warner Music Deal Dow Jones Rises on Fed Dovishness, Tax Reform Hopes »