Wall Street had another good session on Tuesday, as major benchmarks almost universally moved higher. Positive sentiment among most investors has stayed in place throughout the past several weeks in light of fairly favorable economic data and continued signs of sustainable growth. Trade-related tensions persist, but so far, market participants seem willing to discount the potential negative economic impacts of tariffs and other associated issues. Nevertheless, some stocks posted sharp declines. Weight Watchers International (WW 2.80%),Tenet Healthcare (THC 1.30%), and Spark Therapeutics (ONCE) were among the worst performers on the day. Here's why they did so poorly.
Weight Watchers suffers a setback
Shares of Weight Watchers International were down 15% at the close after the weight-loss specialist said that it had seen a slight decline in the number of subscribers to its services over the past three months. Most of the news in the company's second-quarter financial report was good, including a 20% rise in year-over-year revenue and a jump in earnings by roughly half from last year's second quarter. Yet even a boost in guidance for full-year earnings wasn't enough to allay concerns about the modest drop in subscriber counts. Despite today's decline, Weight Watchers' stock is still up more than 75% just since the beginning of the year.
Tenet looks a bit ill
Tenet Healthcare stock dropped 16% in the wake of the company's release of second-quarter financial results. The hospital specialist managed to reverse a year-earlier loss, posting a $24 million profit that worked out to $0.23 per share in earnings. Fundamentally, much of Tenet's business still looks sound, including solid sales gains for its hospital and ambulatory care segments. However, what many investors focused on was Tenet's so-far unsuccessful attempts to sell its struggling Conifer managed health unit, which has seen segment revenue decline. Even with a boost to 2018 guidance, Tenet really needs to find an answer on what to do with Conifer in order to satisfy investors fully.
This Spark just went out
Finally, shares of Spark Therapeutics plunged 28%. The gene therapy company said that preliminary data from a phase 1/2 study of its hemophilia A drug SPK-8011 raised some new concerns. In general, efficacy for the treatment was strong, with 97% reductions in annualized bleeding rates and infusion rates across the dozen patients in the study. However, a couple of the study participants had adverse immune responses that qualified as serious events, and that led some to worry that safety issues might get in the way of a final approval for the treatment. Spark will move forward with a phase 3 trial of SPK-8011, but shareholders will have to watch closely to make sure any safety issues get addressed appropriately in the future.