Friday saw the stock market close the week on a negative note, and investors seemed to put their heads down and prepare for next week's much-anticipated meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee. Recently, views on likely monetary policy have become much more varied and unpredictable, and few have any confidence about what the Fed is likely to do at its September meeting.
In addition to the overall concerns about the market, some companies also had negative news that sent their stocks downward by much more than the losses of roughly half a percent or less in most major market benchmarks. Among the worst performers on Friday were Novavax (NASDAQ:NVAX), Range Resources (NYSE:RRC), and Deutsche Bank (NYSE:DB).
Novavax's study tells investors what they don't want to hear
Novavax plunged 85% after releasing data from two clinical trials looking at its proposed vaccine for the respiratory syncytial virus. In particular, results from the Resolve Phase 3 trial failed to meet the objectives that the company had set, including the primary objective for efficacy in lower respiratory tract disease symptoms and secondary objectives for efficacy in reducing all symptomatic respiratory disease due to the virus.
Another Phase 3 trial of the vaccine involving healthy pregnant women is ongoing, and investors hope that the results of that trial will prove to be better than the Resolve trial covering older adults. As a result, the company still believes that the vaccine could have a path forward to approval at some point, but it will have to look more closely at the results to try to figure out what went wrong.
Range Resources finishes its deal
Range Resources fell 5% in the wake of the completion of a merger. The energy company finished its purchase of Memorial Resource Development, taking on the Fort Worth exploration and production company's debt, and issuing Range Resources stock to Memorial Resource Development shareholders. For every 100 shares that Memorial shareholders owned in their company, Range Resources issued 37.5 shares of its stock in return.
Going forward, Range Resources is optimistic about the prospects of the combined companies, and CEO Jeff Ventura said that the "combination of the two highest quality natural gas plays in the United States provides Range with a strong foundation to create sustainable shareholder value." However, the all-stock nature of the deal arguably dilutes some of Range Resources' existing opportunities, and investors seemed to focus on that aspect of the deal today.
Deutsche Bank faces potential fines
Finally, Deutsche Bank dropped 9%. The German bank confirmed that it's under pressure from the U.S. Department of Justice, which is looking to impose fines of $14 billion. The fines are related to mortgage-backed securities in the lead-up to the financial crisis, and given how much in fines Deutsche Bank's U.S. counterparts in the financial industry have already paid, the amount doesn't seem that punitive.
For its part, Deutsche Bank thinks it will be able to escape liability by settling for less than the full amount, but even a greatly reduced fine could have a material impact on the bank's financial condition. Given the challenges in Europe, an attack from across the Atlantic is the last thing that Deutsche Bank needs.