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The Dow Jones Industrial Average soared 286 points, or 2.4%, yesterday as it looked probable not only that "Helicopter" Ben Bernanke would make it rain with yet another round of quantitative easing, but that his peers in Europe were going to begin a massive stimulus to bail out their defunct financial system as well. Some stocks missed the memo and absolutely crashed yesterday. Here is a look at some of the companies that fell hardest.
Sleep on it
Shocking as it may seem -- well, the market was shocked by it, at least -- sellers of specialty mattresses have a hard time pushing product in a recession. Tempur-Pedic (NYSE: TPX ) rolled over yesterday, losing half its value after reporting that it expects revenues to fall next quarter and keep dropping throughout the year. Competition for its specialized foam mattress is growing, and analysts forecast that it doesn't have the moat they thought it did and will lose share in the market.
That caused other mattress makers to drop as well, though none took nearly the drubbing Tempur-Pedic did. Select Comfort (Nasdaq: SCSS ) -- the maker of the uber-expensive Sleep Number beds -- and Mattress Firm lost more than 20% of their value while Sealy (NYSE: ZZ ) was down a more modest 5% on the day.
It was just two weeks ago that shares of mattress stocks were springing up after the International Sleep Products Association said that the number of mattresses shipped posted a year-over-year 6.6% increase in April. Perhaps that should have been a warning sign instead that traditional mattresses might be more popular (and affordable) than their high-priced specialty competitors.
Select Comfort, however, did recently report its own earnings, which showed a 36% increase in sales on a 34% jump in comps. Though 88% of those rating the mattress maker on Motley Fool CAPS do see it outperforming the broad market averages, the low two-star (out of five) rating they've assigned it suggests they think you'll sleep better if you put your money elsewhere.
Tell me on the Select Comfort CAPS page or in the comments section below whether you agree its business is firming up, and then add the Sleep Number purveyor to the Fool's free stock tracking service to see how dreamy it can be.
Loss of energy
Alternative-energy specialist FuelCell Energy (Nasdaq: FCEL ) was another one that was recently riding a wave of investor sentiment higher, only to have its hopes dashed on the shoals of a sour quarterly report. But it was its own second-quarter numbers that did it in, as revenues fell 15% from a year ago, and it continued to report losses, albeit narrower ones than last year.
The profit picture was actually better than analysts anticipated, and FuelCell said it was able to grow the gross margin line because of restructuring it had done. And that's promising, because this was the first quarter in the last five that didn't show year-over-year revenue rising.
Unlike the mattress industry, where the entire sector rolled over, both Ballard Power and Plug Power seemed unaffected by FuelCell's results.
The alt-energy provider's backlog was also higher than last year's -- though, as Fools know, backlog doesn't always neatly translate into revenues. Yet it's important to note that the pending business doesn't include the recent memorandum of agreement signed with South Korean steelmaker POSCO (NYSE: PKX ) for 120 megawatts of power.
I'm in agreement with CAPS member slohariw that FuelCell's "earnings forecasts seem achievable," and with POSCO funneling it business regularly, it should snap back from this fall. But you can have your say on whether the fuel cell specialist's future is still bright in the comments section below, and then add the company to your watchlist to see whether that backlog business gets any bigger.
Ready for a resurrection
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