The final day of 2019 didn't bring a lot of action on Wall Street, as investors seemed content to celebrate what's been an extremely strong year for stocks. Given how negative sentiment was at the end of 2018, this year's performance has been a testament to the value of having a long-term investment strategy.
As of 11 a.m. EST on Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI 0.82%) was down 75 points to 28,387. The S&P 500 (^GSPC 0.59%) lost 6 points to 3,215, while the Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC 0.55%) fell 10 points to 8,936.
In what's been a tough year for marijuana stocks, Canopy Growth (CGC 10.36%) managed to push higher Tuesday morning on hopes that 2020 will be friendlier to the industry leader. Meanwhile, Core Laboratories (CLB) had to deal with the disappointment of a dividend cut amid weak conditions in the oil-field services arena.
Canopy looks for a turnaround
Shares of Canopy Growth were up 9% Tuesday morning, doing their best to claw back some of their losses from earlier in the year. Although the marijuana stock hasn't had the best of years in 2019, many investors are optimistic that Canopy has better days ahead.
Its 2019 performance stemmed largely from a confluence of negative factors hitting the company at the same time. Supply constraints have prevented the Canadian cannabis company from fully capitalizing on the recreational market north of the U.S. border, and huge losses eventually led to the dismissal of co-CEO Bruce Linton.
Yet looking ahead, Canopy could have a number of positive catalysts to turn itself around. New CEO David Klein will take charge in mid-January, promising to impose greater financial control over Canopy's operations. Regulatory logjams in Canada should also ease up, with new store licenses expected to benefit the company. Canopy's efforts to offer cannabis derivative products should also bring some growth.
Marijuana companies still have a long way to go before they'll be consistently profitable, and even Canopy Growth has challenges ahead. Yet investors have newfound hope that Canopy will be able to overcome those obstacles and return to its high-growth ways.
Core Labs loses energy
Meanwhile, shares of Core Laboratories sank almost 20% on Tuesday. The oil-field services company cut its guidance for the fourth quarter of 2019, slashing its dividend and issuing a negative outlook for the beginning of 2020 as well.
Core Labs said that fourth-quarter results would come in weaker than initially expected, as U.S. onshore drilling activity has declined much more sharply than anticipated. The company cited U.S. rig counts having fallen by 11% in the fourth quarter, and completion activity looks like it'll end up falling more than 20%. Internationally and in the offshore market, Core Labs' customers have dragged their feet about large projects, further pressuring sales.
Although Core Labs still sees better conditions prevailing in the long run, it also thinks that a rebound could be slow, since investment decisions from clients have been a lot slower recently than in past business cycles. In order to preserve its balance sheet strength, the company decided to cut its future quarterly dividends to $0.25 per share, down by more than half from its previous $0.55 quarterly payout.
The news came as a shock to investors, many of whom had relied on CEO David Demshur's assertion earlier in 2019 that Core Labs had no plans to cut its dividend. Yet unless higher oil prices in 2020 can spur greater levels of drilling activity, the company could continue to see challenges.