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Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over daily movements, we do like to keep an eye on market changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.
The bull market in stocks is approaching the end of its fifth year, and one of its defining characteristics has been its tenacious way of staying near recent highs even in the face of uncertainty. Investors bid stock prices slightly lower today, but even with the Federal Reserve looming over the market's sentiment, losses in the major-market benchmarks were relatively minor. That wasn't the case for some individual stocks, though, with Lumber Liquidators (NYSE: LL ) , Icahn Enterprises (NASDAQ: IEP ) , and TravelCenters of America (NASDAQ: TA ) all posting big drops today.
Lumber Liquidators fell 14% after the company updated its guidance last night. Although the flooring specialist raised its revenue estimates for 2013 by about 1% and boosted its same-store sales estimates by a percentage point, growth projections of roughly 15% to 20% on the revenue side and high-single to low-double digit percentage gains in comps didn't live up to investors' high expectations. Moreover, earnings guidance of $3.25 to $3.60 per share didn't sit well with analysts, who have raised their own projections toward the upper end of that range over the past few months. Lumber Liquidators will likely have to outperform its guidance to get investors optimistic again.
Icahn Enterprises dropped 11% after the limited partnership announced last night that it would sell 2 million units to raise cash for investment in its operating subsidiaries. Even with the drop, the units have tripled in value since late last year, reflecting some of the strong investments that the limited partnership has made over the past year. Investors were clearly spooked by the move, but raising cash for investment with the track record that Icahn has should arguably make his investors happy that he sees more opportunity to profit, not frightened.
TravelCenters of America declined 9% after a secondary offering of its own, with plans to sell 5 million shares to raise roughly $50 million. The company's press release said that some of the proceeds might go toward its $67 million purchase of 31 Minit Mart convenience stores in Kentucky and Tennessee that TravelCenters of America announced last month. Like Icahn Enterprises, TravelCenters has done quite well, doubling since the beginning of the year even after today's drop and making its stock seem like a natural currency for expansion plans.
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