Tuesday was a relatively calm day for the stock market, leaving the Dow and S&P 500 little changed and still trading near all-time highs. Investors continue to wrestle with a variety of long-term themes, including the future of monetary policy from the Federal Reserve and ongoing geopolitical tension with North Korea. Yet absent major news on those fronts, market participants seemed content to let the indexes tread water as the third quarter draws to a close at the end of the week. Even with stable conditions, some stocks suffered losses, and Axovant Sciences (NASDAQ:AXON), The Habit Restaurants (NASDAQ:HABT), and Silvercorp Metals (NYSE:SVM) 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.
Axovant takes a hit on Alzheimer's setback
Shares of Axovant Sciences plunged more than 70% after the biotech company released phase 3 clinical trial results for its intepirdine candidate drug. Axovant said that its Mindset study didn't meet key primary efficacy endpoints, failing to show statistically significant improvement in cognition or activities of daily living compared to a placebo. CEO David Hung was "deeply disappointed by these trial results," but he noted that intepirdine and fellow candidate drug nelotanserin are still under evaluation for patients suffering from a form of dementia. Nevertheless, the results are another loss in the battle that millions of patients are fighting against Alzheimer's.
Habit leaves investors hungry
The Habit Restaurants stock dropped 6%, largely in sympathy with the rest of the restaurant industry following a key peer's earnings report. The purveyor of the Habit Burger chain responded negatively to poor news from the parent company of Olive Garden, which said that comparable-restaurant sales were up just 1.7% across the company. The news was the latest in a string of disappointing results that have affected other chains like Chili's and Applebee's, and even though Habit Burger isn't entirely in the same category as these casual dining establishments, investors remain nervous about the overall reluctance among consumers to dine out more frequently.
Silvercorp gets a little tarnished
Finally, shares of Silvercorp Metals finished down 6%. The silver mining company suffered along with the rest of the precious metals market, as silver bullion prices were down about 2% to drop below the $17-per-ounce level. Silver's prospects have been closely tied to those of the gold market recently, and Tuesday was a poor day for the gold market, too. Even with plenty of geopolitical risk and other concerns, investors seem not to have the same confidence in precious metals as a safe haven that they've had in the past. That takes away a key pillar of support for silver, and in turn makes Silvercorp a bit less attractive as a potential winner going forward.