Why Did My Stock Just Die?

Your stock just took a nosedive -- but don't panic. First, let's see whether it had good reason to fall. Sometimes, panic-fueled drops can make excellent buying opportunities. Here's the latest crop of cratered stocks that could provide a possibility for profit:

Stock

CAPS Rating (out of 5)

Thursday's Change

Syntroleum (Nasdaq: SYNM  )

**

(25.8%)

Cell Therapeutics (Nasdaq: CTIC  )

**

(19.4%)

Teucrium Corn Fund ETV (Nasdaq: CORN  )

****

(8.7%)

Marking its best four-day rally since last September, the markets continued jumping higher, rising an additional 153 points, or 1.3%. So stocks that went down by even larger percentages are pretty big deals.

The devil's in the details
Apparently a quick way to take your stock down is to announce a secondary offering. Both Syntroleum and Cell Therapeutics crushed current shareholders with plans of a stock sale yesterday. In Syntroleum's case, it priced the offering 20% below where it had closed the day before while Cell Therapeutics was only around 13% below its previous closing price but was seen as dilutive.

Syntroleum's stock is already reeling in sympathy from the vote to eliminate ethanol subsidies, a decision that's hit alt-fuels sector players such as Archer Daniels Midland (NYSE: ADM  ) . Diverting corn to make fuel has been a touchy subject, because it raises the price of a key food product while producing a fuel that's not as efficient as other alternative fuels.

Some point to sugar-based ethanol such as that produced by Cosan (NYSE: CZZ  ) , but rising sugar prices should serve notice that's no panacea either. It may be more efficient than corn-based ethanol, but with sugar in so many products, consumers will feel the result of that decision in their pocketbook. Sugar prices are off from their January peak but remain above year-ago levels.

With a market cap north of $19 billion and more than just ethanol to thrive on, Syntroleum will survive even if subsidies vanish. The same can't be said for Pacific Ethanol, and Syntroleum seems caught in a nether world between the two extremes. CAPS member pike1643 thinks it falls into ADM's camp rather than Pacific Ethanol's:

SYNM is on the verge of turning a consistent profit. With a 1.28 per gallon margin on biodiesel, this stock should yeild .40/share or more annually. If the tax credit doesn't get extended, RIN values will adjust to compensate.

Yet analysts seemed surprised that with corn in short supply and unable to meet demand, thus causing higher prices, farmers would actually plant more corn. Two reports out of the Agriculture Department doomed the Teucrium Corn ETF yesterday as they showed farmers were investing heavily in corn by planting more acreage earlier this year, but also that inventories were much higher than analysts had forecast. While the silos were down from the year-ago period, the higher-than-expected numbers suggested corn prices would weaken.

Agriculture stocks in general are down. ADM is down 15% this past month and 20% from its 52-week highs, while Bunge (NYSE: BG  ) is off almost 10% from its highs, and The Andersons (Nasdaq: ANDE  ) is 18% lower.

Yet higher food prices are in the future, according to CAPS member meadornack, and though that would seem to argue for an investment in such ag stocks like those above, the corn ETF will also benefit regardless of what happens with ethanol subsidies.

A pixie stock price
For biotech Cell Therapeutics, it didn't generate much of a bounce from being added to a number of Russell indexes, and then the company undermined the support it had with its stock offering. It may be using the proceeds to pay down debt, fund R&D, and pay for clinical trials -- and maybe even acquisitions -- but having hung its hopes on pixantrone only to see the Food and Drug Administration refuse approval, it needs to hope that resubmitting the application will cure all. A new offering will only dilute those who already own the stock.

Still, just less than 90% of those rating the biotech think it will outperform the broad market averages. Follow its development by adding it to your watchlist and see if the risky decision to appeal the complete response level is a smart move -- and whether it will innovate or die.

Ready for a resurrection
Just because your stock has taken a beating doesn't mean it's going to roll over and die. Markets are known for overreacting. A closer look on Motley Fool CAPS at what's happened to your stock can give you an edge over other investors who just react to the market's lead. You can decide for yourself whether it's ready to come back from the dead.

Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Fool contributor Rich Duprey does not have a financial position in any of the stocks mentioned in the article. You can see his holdings here.


Read/Post Comments (12) | Recommend This Article (2)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On July 01, 2011, at 3:49 PM, jatade1 wrote:

    I hate to post a negative on this article, but either myself or the writer of this article is clueless on Syntroleum. I had no ideal that SYNM was making ethanol and I follow their stock and PR quite a bit. I am pretty sure the only product they are producing in production quantities at this time is derived from chicken fat. Not sure, how the price of corn would affect this in other than a roundabout way by making chicken feed more expensive. I suppose that if the ethanol subsidies were cut, the tax credit Synm enjoys could be cut also. Still, it appears that not much research went into this company.

  • Report this Comment On July 01, 2011, at 4:24 PM, jacobr57 wrote:

    I love how this article talks about the inefficiency of syntroleum's fuel, yet doesn't even know what it produces.

  • Report this Comment On July 01, 2011, at 4:52 PM, olbaldfart555 wrote:

    Please print a correction to your article Syntroleum does not make Ethanol, Syntroleum make advanced biofuels from NON-foodgade fats and oils, they also make renewable jet fuel and a host of other products. As a shareholder I do not appreciate the misrepresentation or black eye that ethanol can put on Syntroleum, sloppy reporting, very sloppy, reminds me why I dont sibscribe to the motley fool, such a fitting name.

  • Report this Comment On July 01, 2011, at 5:52 PM, TMFCop wrote:

    Ugh. Of course you're right. I meant to say alt fuels generally and ethanol makers specifically were hurt by the move to cut subsidies. Having written about SYNM numerous times over the years, I'm well aware it's most decidedly not an ethanol maker. Apparently in the hurly burly of editing, I conflated two separate thoughts. I appreciate your catching it and holding my feet to the fire of accuracy.

    A correction has been submitted, but with the long holiday weekend it may take longer than usual to make it to the site.

    Thanks for reading and catching such an obvious, glaring error.

    Rich

  • Report this Comment On July 01, 2011, at 8:58 PM, jacobr57 wrote:

    Thanks Rich!

  • Report this Comment On July 02, 2011, at 6:44 AM, mddkw wrote:

    SYNM is not Ethanol maker!!!!!!!!!!!!! Syntroleum

    It is biodiesel. you FOOl. Does not use grain. Get it right. that you job right. What and idiot.

  • Report this Comment On July 02, 2011, at 7:10 AM, mddkw wrote:

    Now for a posting when I’m not talking to a fool or idiot. SYNM has a plant in Geismar, Louisiana called Dynamic Fuels. It makes biodiesel. Read the profile on what they are doing and the real news you will see why the stock dropped.

    http://www.dynamicfuelsllc.com/

  • Report this Comment On July 04, 2011, at 7:56 AM, grover348 wrote:

    Synm still has the $1 per gallon tax credit on the first 75 million gallons it produces..

  • Report this Comment On July 04, 2011, at 10:44 PM, jonesnj0 wrote:

    Wow the Bash Rag strikes again and again and again the funny thing is most articles or bashes you write about company's like CYIC you have the facts completely wrong such as the case above!

    I Meant wow thats a good one can't remember last time a basher rag consistently got the facts wrong!

    Like you fools seems too!

    Keep Bashing CTIC like the true Basher rag that you are working for the shorts getting all the fact wrong just like the bashers do!

    What Losers!

  • Report this Comment On July 05, 2011, at 10:52 AM, olbaldfart555 wrote:

    Rich!!!, you are suposed to be correcting this article. Get it done!!!

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2011, at 9:26 AM, rudy2828 wrote:

    Not to mention the cap is not $19 billion. More like $120 million. Getting sloppier all the time.

  • Report this Comment On October 17, 2011, at 3:25 PM, erimaxx wrote:

    rich knew what he was doing .. he was hoping his news would sink the stock even more.notice no retraction story.so far our military believes in synm...that says alot for its future.. wish i could say the same about your job rich.lol

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