Investors hate uncertainty, and the risk of war is just about the most uncertain thing in the world. The rising conflict between Ukraine and Russia weighed on world stock markets today, with Russian stocks plunging more than 10% and the Russian ruble hitting new all-time lows. But even though the reaction in the U.S. wasn't as dramatic, stocks were broadly lower Monday, and Nu Skin Enterprises (NYSE: NUS ) , Harsco (NYSE: HSC ) , and QIWI (NASDAQ: QIWI ) were among the worst performers of the day.
Nu Skin fell 11% after announcing earnings this morning. News that China is continuing to look at its beauty-products business weighed on the stock, as investors are nervous that Chinese regulators could eventually seek to shut down the company after allegations of Nu Skin being having faced allegations of being an illegal pyramid scheme. Despite seeing overall sales jump 82% and earnings per share double from year-ago levels, shareholders aren't willing to discount the potential catastrophe that a Chinese crackdown could have on the company.
Harsco dropped more than 10% after the industrial, infrastructure, railroad maintenance equipment, and metals company said that CEO Patrick Decker was stepping down in order to take the top job at Xylem. Harsco named David Everitt, who currently serves on its board of directors, to the role of interim President and CEO, and also reassured investors that it maintained its full-year 2014 guidance and expects operating income to grow at a low double-digit percentage rate this year. The company should also be able to complete its assessment of its Metals and Minerals segment by May, as previously expected.
QIWI plunged 17% as investors sold off just about anything with a connection to Russia. Interestingly, the payment-processing company could actually see the unrest as a potential growth opportunity if Russian citizens take steps to try to send money to more secure locations. Yet with the likelihood that Russian authorities would take steps to rein in QIWI's business in the event that a large outflow of capital started to occur, shareholders seem to recognize the difficult situation QIWI faces right now.
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