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Why Polaris Industries, Freeport-McMoRan, and Waters Slumped Today

By Dan Caplinger – Apr 24, 2018 at 3:32PM

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Learn what made these stocks the biggest losers on a tough day.

Wall Street suffered a big drop on Tuesday, with the Dow down as much as 600 points during the session before rebounding somewhat. The bond market continued to be a source of consternation for many investors, with rates rising through the 3% level for the 10-year Treasury, marking an important psychological milestone in what some predict could be a multiyear bear market for bonds. Earnings reports also brought downward pressure on certain companies, despite what was overall been a generally favorable season thus far. Polaris Industries (PII -6.25%), Freeport-McMoRan (FCX 1.11%), and Waters (WAT 0.66%) were among the worst performers on the day. Here's why they did so poorly.

Polaris stalls out

Shares of Polaris Industries fell 9% after the company reported its first-quarter financial results. The maker of motorcycles and off-road vehicles said that revenue climbed 12% from year-ago levels, helping Polaris boost its adjusted net income by more than 40%. Yet investors appeared to be more concerned about some of the comments that the company made about its future results. Even though Polaris raised sales guidance to project annual growth of 4% to 6%, commodity price increases, higher freight costs, and the impact of additional tariffs will hold the company back somewhat. Shareholders were fearful about the implications of those warnings, which simply added to other obstacles that Polaris has had to overcome recently.

Several off-road vehicles with Polaris logos on a muddy track racing.

Image source: Polaris.

Freeport keeps fighting with Indonesia

Freeport-McMoRan stock dropped 14.5% in the wake of the company's first-quarter report, which raised further concerns about its relationship with the Indonesian government. Results for the copper and gold miner and energy producer were mixed, with stronger revenue but weaker earnings than most had expected. What investors responded to the most was Freeport's guidance cut for copper production, which it now believes will come in at 3.8 billion pounds, down 100 million pounds from its previous forecast. The sticking point for Freeport is the mammoth Grasberg mine, as Indonesia has sought to tighten its grip on its natural resources and extract more tax and royalty income from miners. Freeport is still in fragile condition following a poor period for commodities in recent years, and the last thing it can handle right now is extended uncertainty regarding one of its most important assets.

Waters disappoints investors

Finally, shares of Waters lost 8%. The specialty measurement company said that sales climbed 7% in the first quarter of 2018 compared to the year-ago period, helping to lift adjusted earnings higher by 9%. Yet despite seeing encouraging performance in the company's core pharmaceutical market, Waters admitted that revenue growth fell short of expectations in key areas like the industrial sector. Even with the setback, Waters has done a good job of bouncing back from adversity in the past, and with demand for its scientific instruments likely to increase as the need for innovation in life sciences grows, investors can expect Waters to remain a leader in its industry niche for the foreseeable future.

Dan Caplinger has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Polaris Industries. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

Freeport-McMoRan Inc. Stock Quote
Freeport-McMoRan Inc.
$28.17 (1.11%) $0.31
Polaris Industries Inc. Stock Quote
Polaris Industries Inc.
$97.65 (-6.25%) $-6.51
Waters Corporation Stock Quote
Waters Corporation
$274.56 (0.66%) $1.81

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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