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Why CenturyLink, Super Micro Computer, and Lear Slumped Today

By Dan Caplinger - Aug 22, 2018 at 4:44PM

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Find out which stocks held back the overall market.

The stock market finished Wednesday on a quiet note, with various major benchmarks moving in different directions. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down about 90 points on weakness in some major industrial and insurance company names, but the Nasdaq Composite posted a similar-sized percentage gain. More broadly, market participants appear to be waiting to see whether strong corporate performance can keep overcoming pressure on the geopolitical front and send stocks to new highs. For some individual companies, though, bad news pushed shares lower. CenturyLink (LUMN 3.73%), Super Micro Computer (SMCI 0.43%), and Lear (LEA 1.28%) were among the worst performers on the day. Here's why they did so poorly.

CenturyLink leads telecoms lower

Shares of CenturyLink dropped 6.5% on a poor day for the telecommunications industry more broadly. Analysts at Moffatt Nathanson downgraded CenturyLink from neutral to sell, setting a $19 price target on the stock. The downgrade comes after the telecom company had seen a big run-up in the aftermath of strong second-quarter financial results and increased guidance for the remainder of the year. Other major players in the space also got negative reviews from analysts, who cited the need for higher investment in 5G network upgrades and other strategic initiatives. For CenturyLink, the fact that the company left its dividend unchanged was also a mixed blessing, as it kept the dividend yield at 9% but failed to address concerns that the telecom specialist might be paying out too much to its shareholders.

Lobby with vaulted ceilings and CenturyLink logos on the columns.

Image source: CenturyLink.

Super Micro faces delisting

Super Micro Computer stock fell 15% after the server company said that it wouldn't be able to meet a key deadline to remain on the Nasdaq exchange. Super Micro said that it wouldn't be able to file its annual report for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2017, or its subsequent quarterly reports for the Sept. 30, Dec. 31, and March 31 quarters. Back in May, a Nasdaq panel granted an extension to come into compliance, but that extension ends this Friday, and Super Micro won't be able to file those reports in time. Despite strong quarterly results announced at the same time today, investors in Super Micro fear that potential restatements of past financial results could be problematic, and they didn't want to wait any longer to find out what's next for the company.

Lear falls on parts worries

Finally, shares of Lear finished lower by 4%. The parts manufacturer was just one of several industry peers that posted losses on the day, following an announcement from European rival Continental that higher costs for developing technology for hybrid and electric vehicles would contribute to lower sales and margin figures than previously projected. Some analysts looking at Continental's results concluded that they shouldn't have an impact on other players in the parts industry, as they appeared to be specific to that company. Yet Lear faces some of the same challenges with its electrical systems business, and investors appear to be nervous that it could confront at least some of the same headwinds going forward.

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Stocks Mentioned

Super Micro Computer, Inc. Stock Quote
Super Micro Computer, Inc.
SMCI
$49.47 (0.43%) $0.21
Lumen Technologies Stock Quote
Lumen Technologies
LUMN
$12.50 (3.73%) $0.45
Lear Corporation Stock Quote
Lear Corporation
LEA
$136.56 (1.28%) $1.72

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

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