The stock market lost its unified course on Wednesday, and that sent major benchmarks moving in different directions on the day. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite posted solid gains of around three-quarters of a percentage point, as the technology sector was the standout performer on the day. Yet other areas like energy performed much more weakly, and that led to relatively flat performance for the S&P 500 and a downward move in the Dow Jones Industrials.
Bad company-specific news hit some stocks hard. Chuy's Holdings (CHUY 2.85%), Cobalt International Energy (NYSE: CIE), and Chicago Bridge & Iron (CBI) were among the worst performers on the day. Below, we'll look more closely at these stocks to tell you why they did so poorly.
Chuy's gets a downgrade
Shares of Chuy's Holdings dropped more than 7.5% after an analyst company downgraded the Tex-Mex restaurant chain. Analysts at Wedbush reduced their rating on Chuy's from outperform to neutral and slashed their price target on the stock by nearly a third, from $34 per share to $23. Wedbush said that sluggish performance on comparable-restaurant sales hasn't been enough to offset certain structural challenges in the restaurant industry, including higher costs that could hit profit margin figures in the second half of the year. Chuy's certainly hasn't been immune to tough conditions across the restaurant industry, cutting its guidance for the remainder of 2017 in its most recent quarterly report back in May. Yet Wedbush sees even tougher times ahead, and that's something that some Chuy's shareholders don't seem prepared to endure.
Cobalt deals with crude's drop
Cobalt International Energy stock declined 12%, losing ground on another extremely difficult day for the energy industry. Crude oil prices dropped again, extending their recent slide and marking a more-than-20% drop from highs seen earlier this year. Even today's news from the Energy Information Administration that crude oil inventories were down 2.5 million barrels wasn't enough to give market participants much comfort. Cobalt in particular faces its own especially tough challenges, including the fact that it is spending far more money on development than it's bringing in on working projects. With only enough cash on hand to finance that level of spending through mid-2018, Cobalt really needs its efforts to pay off quickly in order to keep itself from an even worse fate going forward.
CB&I deals with downbeat sentiment
Finally, shares of Chicago Bridge & Iron finished down 12%. The infrastructure stock got a negative assessment from analysts at Macquarie, who kept their underperform rating on the stock but reduced their price target from $11.50 per share to $10. The analysts argued that potential cost overruns could be costly for CB&I's profits, and delays in fixed-contract business could force the company to burn through cash reserves, putting pressure on renegotiated debt covenants in its borrowing arrangements. Given that Macquarie had already pushed down its view on CB&I just two weeks ago, the repeat performance has some Chicago Bridge & Iron investors even more worried about the company's ability to deliver steady growth into the future.