Thursday delivered substantial losses to investors, with major market benchmarks losing about 1% on the day. Concerns about the financial sector helped lift expectations of more volatile trading in the near future, with the iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (NYSEMKT:VXX) posting gains of more than 6% in anticipation of greater turbulence ahead. The Dow's drop of almost 200 points was significant, but some stocks posted even greater losses on a percentage basis. Among them were Deutsche Bank (NYSE:DB), Sally Beauty Holdings (NYSE:SBH), and Intra-Cellular Therapies (NASDAQ:ITCI).
Deutsche Bank faces fears of a European financial downward spiral
Deutsche Bank fell 7%, hitting an all-time record low for the shares that trade on the New York Stock Exchange during the day. The German bank has been under pressure for a while, and now, it appears that some of the bank's customers are taking action to protect themselves from potential future fallout. In particular, reports surfaced that some of the clients that use Deutsche Bank as a clearinghouse for trading activity in derivatives have withdrawn some of the excess liquidity they had on deposit there, and some have closed out positions to avoid any potential counterparty or clearing risk. As U.S. financial institutions saw during the financial crisis in 2008, such losses of confidence can sometimes feed on themselves and actually create the problem that investors were trying to avoid. Investors will have to wait and see whether Deutsche Bank can survive the onslaught.
Sally Beauty sees its CFO take a powder
Sally Beauty Holdings dropped 7% after the beauty company revealed the resignation of CFO Mark Flaherty. The company said that Flaherty had resigned "to pursue other interests" and "was not the result of any disagreement with the Corporation regarding its operations, policies, practices or otherwise." Nevertheless, the departing CFO entered into a separation agreement that will pay Flaherty his base salary for 15 months in exchange for a release of any potential claims against Sally Beauty. Janna Minton will take over as interim principal financial officer until a CFO replacement is found. The phrasing of the SEC filing of the news seemed to imply a more detailed story behind the episode, but any such details might never become public.
Intra-Cellular breaks down on schizophrenia drug failure
Finally, Intra-Cellular Therapies crashed 64%. The company announced late yesterday that its results from a phase 3 clinical trial of its schizophrenia drug ITI-007 failed to show any separation from the placebo with respect to its primary endpoint of producing improvement in total patient scores on the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale metric. The trial did show that ITI-007 was better than rival drug risperidone in terms of safety and tolerability, and Intra-Cellular speculated that an unusually high placebo response at certain sites might have affected trial results adversely. Intra-Cellular expects to continue to study ITI-007 and remains optimistic that the entirety of its research could provide enough evidence that the drug is effective in treating schizophrenia. Nevertheless, investors are concerned that the failure could prevent FDA approval in the future even if other studies have more favorable results.