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Why Axon Enterprise, Avis Budget Group, and Hostess Brands Slumped Today

By Dan Caplinger – Aug 8, 2018 at 4:37PM

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Find out which of these stocks took the biggest hit.

Wednesday was an up-and-down day on Wall Street, with most major benchmarks finishing little changed. Investors focused their attention on the ongoing saga of trade disputes between the U.S. and various trade partners across the globe, as China once again escalated tensions with threats of imposing billions in new tariffs. Some bad news from individual companies also weighed on overall market sentiment. Axon Enterprise (AXON -1.90%), Avis Budget Group (CAR 0.31%), and Hostess Brands (TWNK 1.24%) were among the worst performers on the day. Here's why they did so poorly.

Axon goes down

Shares of Axon Enterprise fell almost 12% after the company reported its second-quarter financial results. The maker of stun guns and body camera equipment said that revenue rose 25% from year-ago levels, including a greater-than-75% rise in sales from its cloud division and 70% gains from its software and sensors business. Axon is also excited about new products coming to market, including initiatives aimed at keeping records of law enforcement activity and a dispatch cloud software service platform. Some investors simply weren't happy with the results, having wanted to see even more dramatic gains in key fundamental metrics. Even after today's drop, Axon shares have doubled just since February.

Law enforcement officer wearing a body camera on his chest, talking with another person.

Image source: Axon Enterprise.

Avis sees a tough road ahead

Avis Budget Group stock dropped 15% in the wake of the company's reduction of guidance for full-year revenue. The company's sales during the second quarter weren't quite as strong as investors had hoped, with a rise of just 4% over year-ago levels. Moreover, a $150 million cut in full-year guidance to a new range of $9.05 billion to $9.3 billion made shareholders nervous about Avis Budget's future. With Avis' primary competitor having been able to post much more encouraging results in its quarterly report, those following Avis Budget stock will want evidence that the company can keep up with its industry rivals and win in areas like autonomous vehicles and ride-sharing.

Hostess takes a licking

Finally, shares of Hostess Brands plunged nearly 18%. The snack cake specialist has been a victim of trends toward healthier eating, with its net income falling from year-ago levels. Revenue rose solely because of an acquisition of bakery assets in Chicago. Hostess tried to be optimistic, citing modest rises in market share and expectations of growth exceeding the average in the sweet baked goods category. However, rising transportation and supply chain costs are hitting the company at a tough time. Until the pendulum of eating preferences starts swinging back toward the products that Hostess thrives on, it'll be tough for the snack cake maker to bounce back fully from its recent slump.

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

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