Wall Street suffered modest declines on Thursday, as major benchmarks gave back some ground after making impressive gains in recent days. Concerns about a renewed rise in interest rates spooked some investors, especially given that a flattening yield curve is putting pressure on big corporate borrowers and the federal government to pay closer attention to the huge amounts of debt that they've incurred in recent years. In addition, some individual companies faced negative business-specific news that sent their shares lower. Align Technology (NASDAQ:ALGN), Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (NYSE:TSM), and Clorox (NYSE:CLX) were among the worst performers on the day. Here's why they did so poorly.
Align gets out of shape
Shares of Align Technology dropped 9% after the maker of orthodontic tooth-straightening appliances got negative comments from a Wall Street analyst. Morgan Stanley cut its rating on the maker of the Invisalign system from overweight to equal-weight, arguing that Align's growth rates are likely to slow and make the stock's current valuation look expensive. Even with the decline, however, Align shares have still more than tripled over the past two years, and investments in new technology could expand Align's addressable market while also tapping more extensively into the key teen demographic.
Taiwan Semi warns of slowing sales
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing stock fell almost 6% in the wake of the company's warning about its full-year sales. The chipmaker pointed to weak demand in the smartphone industry, for which it supplies a substantial number of its products. Given the company's role in supplying components for key iPhone models, tech investors extended the scope of the warning to draw negative conclusions about prospects for smartphone sales in general. Taiwan Semi also said that lower interest in bitcoin mining cut demand as well. With many expecting a cyclical downturn in the semiconductor chip space in the near future, Taiwan Semi's warning came at a particularly inopportune time.
Clorox looks bleached out
Finally, shares of Clorox fell 6%. The consumer products giant and bleach maker was also a victim of an analyst downgrade from Morgan Stanley, which cut its rating on Clorox from equal-weight to underweight. Analysts noted that consumers aren't necessarily as loyal to big-name brands in the consumer space anymore, and pricing pressures have resulted from Clorox's inability to pass through cost increases as effectively as it has in the past. Morgan Stanley cut its price target on Clorox stock from $128 to $116 per share, and some believe that even worse times could be ahead unless Clorox can find a way to turn around its slow-growth business in the near future.