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Why Walter Energy, JinkoSolar, and FireEye Tumbled Today

Dow 17,000 took more than seven months to achieve, but it only took two trading sessions for investors to lose their grip on the milestone, at least in the short run. After such a strong advance for the broader stock market, investors appeared ready to take some of their profits in light of the massive returns they've earned over the past several years, sending most major benchmarks down more than two-thirds of a percent today. For some individual stocks, the news was even worse, with Walter Energy (NASDAQOTH: WLTGQ  ) , JinkoSolar (NYSE: JKS  ) , and FireEye (NASDAQ: FEYE  ) all suffering large declines on Tuesday.

Walter Energy fell almost 9% as the struggling metallurgical coal company reported preliminary second-quarter production figures and announced the results of a debt offering. Walter Energy said it produced about 2.5 million metric tons of coal, with about 80% of that coming from its U.S. operations and the rest in the U.K. and Canada. With the company having started to shutter its Canadian mines in British Columbia, Walter Energy nevertheless expects to hit its target of 9 million to 10 million tons of production for the full year. But investors and analysts aren't so sure, as lower price forecasts for coal could hamper Walter Energy's ability to operate without massive losses. With the company having to pay a 9.5% interest rate on $320 million in five-year senior secured notes, bond investors are requiring a lot of extra income from Walter Energy to compensate for long-term solvency risks.

Source: JinkoSolar.

JinkoSolar also fell nearly 9% on a bad day for solar stocks generally. With the U.S. having imposed tariffs on Chinese-made solar panels, JinkoSolar has had to rely more on the domestic Chinese market for solar materials. Yet speculation that the Chinese government might reduce its target for solar installations could present even greater challenges for JinkoSolar and its peers in the Chinese solar industry. Despite dramatic improvement in JinkoSolar's fundamentals recently, the company nevertheless needs a healthy solar industry in its home country in order to help support its debt and continue to make progress toward sustained and permanent profitability.

FireEye took an 8.5% hit as the cybersecurity specialist saw continued pressure in a downdraft that has cost it about two-thirds of its value since early March. Most of the commentary surrounding FireEye doesn't have as much to do with its own specific business as it does with the momentum-based investors who've helped amplify the stock's volatility in recent months. Nevertheless, with FireEye stock trading below its levels immediately after its IPO, the company needs to start demonstrating its ability to grow as quickly as shareholders want to see in order to regain the confidence of its investor base.

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Dan Caplinger

Dan Caplinger has been a contract writer for the Motley Fool since 2006. As the Fool's Director of Investment Planning, Dan oversees much of the personal-finance and investment-planning content published daily on With a background as an estate-planning attorney and independent financial consultant, Dan's articles are based on more than 20 years of experience from all angles of the financial world.

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8/28/2015 4:00 PM
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