Why Himax Technologies, Analogic, and Gold Fields Tumbled Today

Stock markets continued to roar ahead on Tuesday, coming off the long weekend with solid gains in broad-based benchmarks. Throughout the market, investors focused on positive economic news as justifying even further advances for the bull market. Many beaten-down stocks recovered substantial ground, but for Himax Technologies (NASDAQ: HIMX  ) , Analogic (NASDAQ: ALOG  ) , and Gold Fields (NYSE: GFI  ) , specific issues hitting those companies held back their share prices from rising today.

Himax Technologies fell almost 14%, continuing the slide that has sliced away more than half of its value since March. Optimism over the potential for Himax to soar following increased production of optical virtual glasses in which Himax plays a key role sent the stock soaring last year, but weak sales of large-panel display drivers haven't made the stock look as attractive. In addition, some analysts pointed to the failure of another display-driver company to get bought out by a major smartphone manufacturer as driving today's share-price losses for Himax. The big question for Himax is still which way it wants to move forward in the future, given the disconnect between its highest-growth segments and its highest-sales segments.

Analogic dropped 12% after the medical technology and security equipment maker warned that its results for its most recent quarter wouldn't be as strong as investors had hoped. In particular, Analogic now expects sales to drop by mid-single-digit percentages, compared to its earlier call that suggested a flat performance for revenue. The news isn't all that surprising, given the headwinds that medical-technology companies have faced because of the rapid changes imposed under health-care reform. The company blamed delays in finalizing airport-equipment sales for the shortfall, and so the big question is whether Analogic will see those sales come in during future quarters.


Image: Gold Footpath by George Hodan.

Gold Fields declined 7%, with the South African gold-mining company suffering on a terrible day for gold generally. Gold Fields announced this morning that an employee lost his life at the company's South Deep mining project, marking the second fatal accident in less than a fortnight. CEO Nick Holland said that the two accidents would prompt a comprehensive review of all of the safety protocols and other measures at the South Deep mine, but it's unclear whether Gold Fields will have to make sweeping changes in order to implement safety recommendations. With gold prices having plunged $25 per ounce today, Gold Fields was far from the only mining company to lose substantial ground Tuesday, but the reminder of how dangerous gold mining can be also served to make investors more somber in their assessment of the industry.

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