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What Caused RigNet Inc.’s Stock to Plunge Today

By Matthew DiLallo - May 18, 2018 at 3:58PM

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The remote communications provider didn’t have any newsworthy catalysts that would justify its share price decline.

What happened

Shares of RigNet Inc. (RNET) were down by more than 8% at 3:54 p.m. EDT Friday. While there wasn't any company-specific news, crude oil did slip a bit today, and some of the company's senior management and directors disclosed that they had sold stock for tax purposes.

So what

RigNet didn't put out any press releases, nor were there any analyst downgrades of the type that are commonly catalysts for selloffs. Because of that, it's not entirely clear why the share price slumped Friday.

A bright red arrow going down.

Image source: Getty Images.

However, crude oil prices dipped a bit, and RigNet's client list is heavily weighted toward the oil and gas sector: It provides technology and communication solutions for remote sites, including offshore drilling rigs, energy facilities, and ships.

WTI, the U.S. oil benchmark, slipped about 0.2% to close at $71.32 a barrel while Brent crude, the global oil benchmark, slid 0.1% to $79.24 per barrel. When crude falls, oil stocks tend to follow suit, and the connection might explain why RigNet's stock slumped. However, crude was higher for the week, with WTI up 1% and Brent up 3% -- the prices for both are near three-and-a-half-year highs. 

Another possibility is that several directors and company officers recently filed Form 4s with the SEC -- required when insiders buy or sell shares. In one case, the interim CFO disclosed her May 15 sale of more than 19,000 shares of stock. However, according to the disclosure, the sale was "solely for the purpose of paying taxes due upon the vesting of shares from restricted stock units that were granted" to her.

Now what

I'd classify Friday's move as nothing more than volatility. RigNet didn't disclose any thesis-altering news, nor did anyone in senior management unload shares, which could be a sign that they see trouble brewing. While RigNet still has a long road to recovery ahead of it, it showed some improvement in the first quarter, and appeared to be slowly getting back on track.

Matthew DiLallo owns shares of RigNet. The Motley Fool recommends RigNet. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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