What happened

Shares of Bed Bath & Beyond (NASDAQ:BBBY) were trading more than 7% lower at 1:40 p.m. EDT Thursday after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell offered a grim assessment about the outlook for the U.S. economy Wednesday and the market grew more fearful as it became clearer that states across the country were experiencing a rising second wave of COVID-19 cases.

So what

The home goods retailer's share price started the year on a downslope, and that slide intensified when the coronavirus outbreak gained Wall Street's attention. After COVID-19 was declared a pandemic in March, Bed Bath & Beyond's shares lost about 60% of their value before bottoming out in early April at $3.43. However, since that low point, the stock rallied, nearly tripling to just shy of $10 a share.

But over the past few days the retailer's stock has given up a quarter of its value again, and given the economic pessimism recently expressed, it's not surprising to see shares fall, particularly with the major market indexes down by significant percentages as well.

Women looking at pillows

Image source: Getty Images.

Now what

Bed Bath & Beyond still needs to prove it can turn itself around. Its business has been contracting and activist investors have targeted it for reform. But it has begun selling off assets that had little to do with its core business, and CEO Mark Tritton seems committed to reviving this once-popular retailer. It even surprised the market in April with a better-than-expected sales and earnings report, although comparable sales tumbled by a double-digit percentage.

It also just appointed a new board chair, former Avon Products (NYSE:AVP) executive Harriet Edelman. However, management still has a lot of work to do, and a downbeat outlook for the market and the U.S. economy broadly will make investors more cautious.

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