Wednesday was a narrowly mixed day on Wall Street, with broader benchmarks giving up modest amounts of ground even as the Dow Jones Industrials once again outperformed its peers. Investors didn't get any surprises from the Federal Reserve, which said after the two-day meeting of its Federal Open Market Committee that it would make no immediate changes to monetary policy but look to implement moves to reduce the size of its balance sheet in the near future. More influential was news from various individual companies, and some stocks lost substantial ground because of unfavorable events. American Outdoor Brands (NASDAQ:SWBI), Sasol (NYSE:SSL), and Iovance Biotherapeutics (NASDAQ:IOVA) 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.
Gun stocks give back their gains
Shares of American Outdoor Brands fell 5%, declining in line with other major players in the gun industry. The move marked a major reversal from Tuesday's 10% jump for the maker of Smith & Wesson guns, which came after the White House was likely to make it easier for gun makers to export weapons outside the U.S. market. One representative of an industry trade group suggested that the change in policy could lead to a 15% to 20% boost to sales, and that could especially help American Outdoor Brands because of Smith & Wesson's limited exposure to foreign markets and the company's overall poor performance recently. Today's decline suggests that investors aren't as certain that such a measure will actually move forward, and the company will need to keep a close eye on Washington to see what happens next.
Sasol looks at capital restructuring
Sasol stock dropped 7% after reports that the South African synfuels specialist would consider a secondary offering in order to pay down debt. Sasol has a commitment to repay almost $1 billion in debt to investors in an initial phase of a black economic empowerment initiative called Sasol Inzalo back in 2008. With South Africa having hopes to increase black ownership of domestic businesses, Sasol expects to have a new initiative called Khanyisa next year. Current shareholders weren't happy with the potential dilution resulting from the deal, but poor performance for the stock made it the best of a bad lot for Sasol.
Iovance sells some stock
Finally, shares of Iovance Biotherapeutics lost more than 16%. The cancer immunotherapy biotech company said that it would offer about $50 million in common stock in a secondary offering, potentially boosting its number of shares outstanding by more than 10%. The company said that it hopes to use the proceeds from the sale to fund clinical trials for various cancer-fighting drugs. The move comes shortly after Iovance shares soared following its getting fast-track designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for its LN-144 melanoma treatment, which raised investor hopes for a quicker approval process. Biotech stocks are popular among investors, and Iovance is worth a closer look from those who've missed out on it so far.