The stock market had a relatively uneventful day on Friday, and major benchmarks were able to celebrate an extremely strong week that included several record highs. Investor sentiment got a bit of a downward push from poor performance in the labor market, which lost jobs in September for the first time in nearly seven years. Even with that bad news, most investors seemed satisfied with the state of the economy, especially as the jobs numbers were affected by Hurricanes Irma and Harvey. A few stocks got hit hard, and Sanderson Farms (SAFM), Noble (NEBLQ), and Gigamon (GIMO) were among the worst performers on the day. Below, we'll look more closely at these stocks to tell you why they did so well.
Sanderson Farms looks a little less appetizing in one analyst's eyes
Shares of Sanderson Farms fell 6.5% after receiving a downgrade from a major analyst company. JPMorgan downgraded the meat producer's stock from neutral to underweight, yet in an unusual move, the analyst actually raised its price target on the downgraded stock from $129 to $134 per share. Meat companies have been working hard to try to take maximum advantage of opportunities while avoiding controversial issues. Yet with the stock having doubled between November 2016 and last month, some investors believe that Sanderson is ready to take a break -- at least for a short while.
Noble deals with falling oil prices
Noble stock dropped 8% on a poor day for the oil markets. Crude oil prices fell nearly $1.50 per barrel, remaining below $50 and spurring concerns about the sustainability of the rebound in the energy sector. Noble has been volatile lately as investors have gotten whipsawed over whether the market for oil and natural gas is rebounding or continuing to struggle. Given the higher costs of operating on offshore exploration and production projects, the price of crude is of even greater importance to Noble than it is to its land-based peers. To reach its full potential, Noble would prefer oil keep moving higher to get closer to the triple-digit levels that prevailed during some of the early part of the decade.
Gigamon faces deal uncertainty
Finally, shares of Gigamon lost 7%. The networking software company has been the object of attention from investors at hedge fund Elliott Management, as the fund's Evergreen Coast Capital Partners affiliate had made an offer to take Gigamon private. Gigamon rejected that offer as being too low, and reports indicate that Elliott hasn't been able to break the logjam in negotiations over a proposed acquisition. The stakes are high for Elliott and Evergreen, which want to be more credible players in the private equity market. For Gigamon, the news is a blow to short-term traders, but those who are more optimistic about its long-term prospects should be happy at the idea of avoiding a successful private equity bid.