If anyone doubts that one man can send global financial markets into a frenzy at will, look no further than Russian President Vladimir Putin if you wish to be disproven. It helps to have millions of troops and an arsenal of weapons at your disposal, as well, and these assets were precisely what put Wall Street in panic mode Thursday after Putin mobilized troops near Russia's border with Ukraine. Seventy percent of all stocks ended lower, but Noble Corporation (OTC:NEBLQ), Diamond Offshore Drilling (OTC:DO), and Monster Beverage Corporation (NASDAQ:MNST) ended as the worst performers in the S&P 500 Index (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) today. The S&P, as a whole, fell 21 points, or 1.2%.
Shares of the offshore drilling company Noble Corporation shed 4.6% Thursday, the victim of a bearish market and updates to its fleet contract, and is a generally volatile stock. Noble, which leases the rigs in its fleet to oil exploration companies, provided further information about the impact of a recent problem with a rig off the coast of Brazil. The "Noble Paul Wolff," which reported a "ballast control incident" at the end of February, hasn't been operational since, an impairment that costs the company $428,000 a day in contract revenue.
Noble drilled its way to the bottom of the index with another rig company on Thursday. Shares of Diamond Offshore Drilling lost 4.3% today, a second straight day of painful losses for shareholders, which saw the stock slip 2.4% yesterday. Energy prices took a hit on Wednesday and didn't do much to recover today, which certainly isn't improving Diamond Offshore's prospects. In fact, shares hit a 52-week low today and, without a definite catalyst on the horizon, it's tough to justify rallying behind the driller anytime soon.
While Monster Beverage's products will have you "rallying" all night and day if you drink enough, that's probably not a great idea. The company's faced some intense scrutiny from both media and Congressional critics, who've argued for firmer warnings, recipe changes, or age requirements to purchase Monster's namesake energy drinks. Shares slumped 4.3% today despite no major losses on the PR battlefield. Personally, I think those losses may come eventually, considering America's growing focus on healthy consumption and preventative, nutrition-based health initiatives.