Why Semiconductor Manufacturing International, Blucora, and Cray Tumbled Today

Even though the stock market traded within a tight range today, some stocks had some dramatic losses. Find out which ones and why here.

Feb 18, 2014 at 8:30PM

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.

Mixed results on Wall Street Tuesday signaled the uncertain among stock market investors right now, as people try to figure out whether the latest rebound from January's modest correction will last or give way to another decline. At least for a few stocks, though, the mood was more dour, as Semiconductor Manufacturing International (NYSE:SMI), Blucora (NASDAQ:BCOR), and Cray (NASDAQ:CRAY) all dropped substantially today despite the relatively flat market.

Semiconductor Manufacturing fell 19% after the Chinese foundry business reported a revenue increase in its fourth quarter of just 1.2% from the year-ago quarter, as earnings fell precipitously. Falling gross margins pointed to the struggles in the semiconductor market recently, and SMI's first-quarter guidance was even less appealing, with expectations for a 5% to 9% drop in sequential revenue and the potential for further margin erosion. With Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) potentially waiting in the wings to utilize its manufacturing capability more profitably, Semiconductor Manufacturing and its foundry peers could soon see an elephant enter the space and make competition a lot tougher.

Blucora fell 8% after the company was the subject of a scathing attack from analysts at Gotham City Research, which made negative comments about the sustainability of its Dogpile and WebCrawler Internet search engines. The report appears to center on the idea that Google should end its relationship with Blucora, and that its TaxACT tax-preparation service provides only minimal protection against a share-price decline. Given the impact of past attacks from Gotham City on other companies, many investors appeared not to want to wait out what could become an extended short attack.

Cray dropped 14%, but it's important to put the move in context as Cray stock soared 39% last Friday. Today's drop erased about half of those gains, but investors remain optimistic about the supercomputer company's past performance and future prospects after its fourth-quarter earnings release. Perhaps the most telling remark was the company's statement that "a wide range of results remains possible," leaving plenty of room for outperformance as well as disappointment.

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Dan Caplinger has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Intel. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't 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.

A Financial Plan on an Index Card

Keeping it simple.

Aug 7, 2015 at 11:26AM

Two years ago, University of Chicago professor Harold Pollack wrote his entire financial plan on an index card.

It blew up. People loved the idea. Financial advice is often intentionally complicated. Obscurity lets advisors charge higher fees. But the most important parts are painfully simple. Here's how Pollack put it:

The card came out of chat I had regarding what I view as the financial industry's basic dilemma: The best investment advice fits on an index card. A commenter asked for the actual index card. Although I was originally speaking in metaphor, I grabbed a pen and one of my daughter's note cards, scribbled this out in maybe three minutes, snapped a picture with my iPhone, and the rest was history.

More advisors and investors caught onto the idea and started writing their own financial plans on a single index card.

I love the exercise, because it makes you think about what's important and forces you to be succinct.

So, here's my index-card financial plan:


Everything else is details. 

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