Stocks held their own on Thursday, managing to recover from much-larger losses to finish fairly close to the unchanged level. Time after time, investors have reacted strongly to momentary pullbacks in the stock market, choosing to buy on dips rather than engage in any broader-scale panic. That's been supportive for the market as a whole, but even with that generally upbeat influence, several stocks weren't able to avoid large losses today. Among them were Steelcase (NYSE: SCS ) , Elizabeth Arden (NASDAQ: RDEN ) , and Bed Bath & Beyond (NASDAQ: BBBY ) , which fell sharply Thursday.
Steelcase dropped almost 11% after the maker of office furniture and other business equipment posted disappointing quarterly results. Adjusted earnings per share came in 25% below what investors were looking to see, and poor guidance for the current quarter also pointed to potentially difficult times ahead, especially with flat order activity in its key Americas division. Meanwhile, Steelcase is taking measures to try to become more competitive in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, with projects intending to transfer facility operations elsewhere, or shut down production at one of Steelcase's locations in France. With substantial exposure to Europe, Steelcase needs to see better economic strength there in order to help its overall results.
Elizabeth Arden plunged 17% in light of a move from South Korean company LG Household not to pursue a potential acquisition of the cosmetics company. Arden announced earlier this week that it would restructure its operations in order to try to limit future losses, and that apparently put the brakes on LG Household's possible negotiations to purchase the company. Elizabeth Arden's strategy to focus on its most-profitable businesses is one that many retail companies have followed; but what's unclear is whether its moves this week will enhance its attractiveness to potential buyers, or drive would-be acquirers away.
Bed Bath & Beyond fell 7% on poor quarterly results, with same-store sales rising only 0.4%, and earnings falling on a year-over-year basis. Moreover, the home-goods retailer issued guidance that fell well short of what shareholders wanted to see, with earnings estimates between 3% and 10% lower than current analyst projections. With gross margins hitting their worst levels in years, Bed Bath & Beyond has struggled to keep up with its peers' superior efforts to make the most of their e-commerce channels to boost overall sales. Until Bed Bath & Beyond can match those efforts, it will have trouble keeping overall sales up, and that, in turn, could hold back the stock for the foreseeable future.
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