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Why L Brands, Devon Energy, and LivaNova Slumped Today

By Dan Caplinger - Nov 20, 2018 at 4:49PM

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Corporate struggles, falling oil prices, and regulatory speedbumps weighed on these stocks.

The stock market suffered a second day of major losses on Tuesday as investors feared that a combination of slowing economic growth, trade-related tensions, and rising interest rates might bring the end of the nearly 10-year bull market in U.S. stocks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500, and Nasdaq Composite all finished down between  1.7% to 2.2%, and market participants seemed unconvinced that a turnaround was in the offing.

Some businesses, though, faced more company-specific issues, and their shares experienced outsize declines as a result. L Brands (BBWI 1.97%), Devon Energy (DVN -1.27%), and LivaNova (LIVN -2.77%) were among the worst performers on the day. Below, we'll focus on these companies to tell you why their stocks did so poorly.

L Brands slashes its dividend

L Brands dropped 17% after the retailer behind the Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works chains released its third-quarter financial report. Although L Brands took a loss for the period due to impairment charges related to Victoria's Secret, it did boost its adjusted earnings guidance for the full fiscal year upward slightly. Yet investors reacted harshly to the company's decision to cut its dividend in half -- the new quarterly payments of just $0.30 per share will start in early 2019. In addition, the retailer replaced the CEO of its Victoria's Secret Lingerie unit. Some analysts had predicted the dividend cut, but the move doesn't really solve the underlying issues that have plagued the company for a while now.

Bath & Body Works corner store from outside.

Image source: L Brands.

Devon looks less energetic

Devon Energy fell 8% on a tough day for the energy markets overall. Crude oil prices continued their slide, plunging almost $4 per barrel to approach the $53 mark, which in turn weighed on exploration and production stocks. Though Devon overcame significant obstacles to generate solid financial results in the third quarter, it still suffers when crude oil prices are low, and cost-cutting efforts can only go so far toward helping it maintain an attractive profit margin. If oil prices stay in this range, or sink further, it could jeopardize Devon's ability to follow through on its stock buyback plans, and impair its ability to make the capital expenditures necessary to boost production -- a situation that could send its share price to levels not seen since early 2016.

LivaNova deals with a tough decision

Finally, LivaNova finished lower by 19%. The medical technology company said that it will have to jump through a couple more hoops with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services before it can receive reimbursement payments for its Vagus Nerve Stimulation therapy system. Specifically, the federal agency is requiring the company to run a clinical trial to establish the efficacy of the treatment before it will expand coverage. LivaNova plans to start a trial in early 2019, but that means that shareholders will (at best) have to wait a lot longer to see the company begin to realize its product's full sales potential.

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Stocks Mentioned

Devon Energy Corporation Stock Quote
Devon Energy Corporation
DVN
$55.11 (-1.27%) $0.71
Bath & Body Works, Inc. Stock Quote
Bath & Body Works, Inc.
BBWI
$26.92 (1.97%) $0.52
LivaNova PLC Stock Quote
LivaNova PLC
LIVN
$62.47 (-2.77%) $-1.78

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

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