Wednesday was another strong day for the stock market, as major market benchmarks produced gains of around three-quarters of a percent. Positive investor sentiment about the economy's ability to weather a Federal Open Market Committee rate hike when it meets in mid-June continued to move stocks broadly higher, and continuing gains in the oil market pushed the price of West Texas Intermediate crude up toward $50 per barrel for the first time since last year.
Yet even though much of the market posted solid gains, there were some stocks that missed out and moved sharply lower. Among the worst performers on the day were Energy Transfer Equity (NYSE:ET), Sportsman's Warehouse (NASDAQ:SPWH), and CBL & Associates (NYSE:CBL).
Energy Transfer Equity fell 9% in the wake of confirmation from the Securities and Exchange Commission that takeover target Williams Companies can mail a proxy statement to its shareholders, and schedule a vote on the merger between the two companies in about a month. Energy Transfer Equity has made arguments on several grounds that it shouldn't have to follow through with its initial merger proposal, and shareholders have been pleased in the past at ideas that the company might not have to complete its deal with Williams after all.
Given the declines in the energy markets, the merger isn't as advantageous to Energy Transfer Equity as it appeared when it was first made. But as investors become more confident that a court will hold Energy Transfer Equity to the deal, its stock could be prone to suffer further losses.
Sportsman's Warehouse dropped 11% after releasing its first-quarter financial report Tuesday afternoon. The retailer reported an increase in sales of 9%, but comparable-store sales fell by 2.2% compared to the year-ago quarter. Adjusted net losses of just $100,000 was much smaller than the $1.4 million Sportsman's Warehouse lost last year.
CEO John Schaefer said that, "our company's operating discipline and local market focus enabled us to quickly adapt to changing market conditions, including both the continued strength in firearms, as well as the continued weather headwinds which impacted performance in our apparel areas." For the full year, Sportsman's Warehouse expects conditions to improve at least somewhat, but expectations for comps growth of between 0% and 2% didn't give investors much confidence moving forward.
Finally, CBL & Associates posted an 8% decline. The real-estate investment trust dropped after news reports surfaced that investigations from the FBI and the SEC are looking into whether the company allegedly falsified information in its financial statements in its efforts to obtain capital from lenders.
In a press release, CBL characterized the reports as "baseless allegations in media coverage," and it said that it had not been contacted by the SEC, the FBI, or any other regulatory agency. CBL stock finished above its worst levels of the day; but until the matter gets resolved once and for all, investors might be skittish before recommitting to the REIT for the long haul.