The stock market has been turbulent lately, and the Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) has been the worst performer among major market benchmarks. On Thursday morning, it seemed likely that the Nasdaq's downward streak would continue, with futures on the index falling 87 points to 15,679 as of 8 a.m. ET.
Earnings season won't start for another week or two, but a few companies are already getting a jump on things, and Bed Bath & Beyond's (BBBY -10.34%) report on its most recent results proved to be extremely disappointing to shareholders. Yet the steep drop in the home goods retailer's stock paled in comparison to an even steeper plunge for another stock on the Nasdaq. You'll learn more about that stock later in this article, but first, let's look at Bed Bath & Beyond's report to see what spooked investors.
No holiday cheer for Bed Bath & Beyond
Shares of Bed Bath & Beyond were down about 6% in premarket trading. That followed a double-digit percentage decline on Wednesday in anticipation of the fiscal third-quarter results that the home goods retailer released Thursday morning.
In a holiday season that was supposed to be stronger than 2020's, Bed Bath & Beyond's numbers were alarming. Revenue dropped 28% from year-ago levels, with comparable sales falling 7% and core sales down 14% year over year. The retailer posted an adjusted loss of $0.25 per share, reversing a year-ago profit of $0.08.
CEO Mark Tritton explained the headwinds hitting Bed Bath & Beyond while stressing the positives. September and October were particularly weak for the company, but the implementation of market-driven pricing to respond to higher inflation and rising freight costs helped to produce flat comparable sales for the month of November. More disciplined pricing helped support gross margin figures, and Tritton celebrated the success of the Beyond+ loyalty program and strong growth at its buybuy BABY concept.
Nevertheless, investors weren't pleased to see supply chain problems cost Bed Bath & Beyond $100 million during the quarter, especially because the company said those problems were even worse in December after the end of the fiscal period. With Bed Bath & Beyond expecting a high-single-digit percentage decline for the fiscal fourth quarter and a full-year loss of $0 to $0.15 per share, it appears that the retailer's pain probably isn't over.
Lights out for Berkeley
However, shareholders of Berkeley Lights (BLI 5.28%) saw even bigger declines. After falling 11% on Wednesday, the biotechnology platform provider's stock dropped another 30% in premarket trading Thursday morning.
Immediately after the market closed on Wednesday, Berkeley Lights gave an update on its 2021 financials and announced a leadership transition. CEO Eric Hobbs will move out of the top management role, shifting to work specifically on Berkeley's antibody therapeutics product line. Berkeley will start a search for a new CEO, with Hobbs staying in the role until the company appoints a replacement.
Berkeley's financial update didn't inspire the confidence that shareholders had wanted to see. The company predicted that total sales for 2021 would be between $84 million and $84.5 million. That's up more than 30% from 2020 numbers, but it's a much slower growth rate than the 81% rise in revenue during 2019.
With operating expenses ballooning, Berkeley Lights needs to ramp up its business as quickly as possible. Until the company can quiet skeptics with stronger financial results, it'll be tough for shareholders to have the confidence they want, especially during a leadership transition.