Wall Street appears determined to deliver an October fitting for the year that 2020 has been. Earnings reports were a significant drag on the broader market, with some of the biggest companies in the market reporting results that on the whole didn't live up to high expectations. Market participants also seemed to perceive a rising risk of major difficulties in the near future, with the presidential election next Tuesday and nervousness about the potential need for extreme measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. As of 12:15 p.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) was down 225 points to 26,434. The S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) lost 39 points to 3,271, and the Nasdaq Composite (NASDAQINDEX:^IXIC) moved lower by 240 points to 10,945.
Shareholders in Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) and HEXO (NASDAQ:HEXO) reacted poorly to the companies' latest results. For one of those stocks, the news also came with a twist that created further uncertainty about the company's future.
Nothing to tweet about
Twitter's stock plunged more than 20% at midday on Friday. The social media company's third-quarter financial report included a solid performance, but investors nevertheless wanted Twitter to take better advantage of the massive opportunities it has had lately.
The numbers themselves included some encouraging signs of success. Total revenue was higher by 14% from year-ago levels. Daily active users were up 29% to 187 million, which was higher by 42 million from this time in 2019. Advertising revenue was up by 15%, as a big boost in ad volume offset pricing pressure that reduced costs per ad engagement. Sales internationally climbed at an 18% rate, outpacing 10% growth in the U.S. market.
However, Twitter's net income fell year over year, reflecting higher costs. Moreover, the company highlighted the fact that pressure on expenses could continue at least through the remainder of this year.
What Twitter didn't do might have been the worst part, as the company chose not to provide much in the way of guidance for the fourth quarter. With so much uncertainty, investors didn't like that lack of forward visibility, and that's likely a big part of the stock's drop Friday.
HEXO gives investors a real downer
Elsewhere, HEXO shares were also down significantly. The marijuana stock fell 17%, dropping further into penny-stock territory.
HEXO's earnings report for the fiscal fourth quarter showed some signs of progress, albeit amid a difficult environment in the cannabis industry. Revenue jumped 76% from the year-earlier quarter, reflecting the rollout of cannabis-infused beverages under the Truss brand name. HEXO also managed to boost prices of its adult-use cannabis, with a 29% boost to $4.07 per gram.
However, HEXO continued to lose money. Despite some progress toward reaching positive adjusted pre-tax operating earnings, the company still has further to go before reaching that milestone.
Even more disappointing was HEXO's decision to do a 1-for-8 reverse split of its stock. The move came as HEXO faced the potential for delisting on the New York Stock Exchange, as its stock price has been below $1 per share for much of the year.
Marijuana stocks on the whole have had a tough 2020, and HEXO in particular hasn't delivered on its full potential as of yet. Shareholders appear concerned that even a reverse stock split won't keep the share price higher for very long.