Monday was a relatively quiet day on Wall Street, and the stock market gave up all of its gains from earlier in the day to finish barely below the unchanged mark. Investors aren't taking any strong positions in advance of this week's meeting of the Federal Reserve's monetary policy committee, and most other financial markets that are sensitive to interest rates also remained relatively close to the unchanged mark on the day. Uncertainty about future rate policy abounds, and the market overall seems content to tread water until a final decision comes in. Yet some stocks still posted substantial declines. WebMD Health (WBMD), CVR Refining (CVRR), and Chesapeake Energy (CHKA.Q) were among the weakest stocks in the market Monday.
WebMD does a CEO switch
WebMD Health fell 6% after announcing that it had replaced its chief executive officer. The health information provider said that CEO David Schlanger, who had led WebMD since 2013, was leaving the company by mutual agreement. Schlanger didn't provide a comment in WebMD's press release, but WebMD thanked the exiting CEO for his contributions to strong financial results. Incoming CEO Steven Zatz will immediately take over the CEO role, and company board chairman Martin Wygod expressed his confidence in Zatz's ability to lead WebMD into the future. At the same time, WebMD announced a new stock buyback authorization, but investors focused their attention on the potential negative impact of a leadership transition.
CVR Refining makes a deal
CVR Refining dropped 13%, giving back some of its gains from Friday. CVR announced a new pipeline collaboration, with a subsidiary of Velocity Midstream would build a crude oil pipeline and terminal linking the South Central Oklahoma Oil Province to the Wynnewood refinery property that CVR Refining operates. As part of the deal, CVR Refining will hold a 40% stake in the newly formed Velocity Pipeline Partners joint venture. Velocity will manage the venture and operate the pipelines after they're complete. CVR currently buys a substantial amount of products produced in the region, but it has previously used a truck-gathering fleet to bring in supply. The new deal will enhance availability and open the door to further collaborations. Yet what the stock move today likely represented was the failure of any potential purchasers to confirm takeover speculation that helped send CVR shares higher on Friday. Until an offer surfaces, CVR could continue to give up its most recent gains.
Chesapeake Energy feels less energetic
Finally, Chesapeake Energy lost 7%. The move wiped out all of the company's gains over the past couple of weeks, reflecting new concerns about the ability of the energy market to continue to consolidate and hold prices firm. Oil inched higher on Monday, but the price of just over $43 per barrel is still far less than bullish investors have been hoping that Chesapeake would be able to realize. With the company having lost a $440 million court case on appeal last week concerning the alleged improper early redemption of certain bonds, investors are paying attention to Chesapeake's finances very closely, and sustained low energy prices will continue to put pressure on the company and hold back its ability to rebound fully.