What: Shares of imaging technology veteran Eastman Kodak (NYSE:KODK) fell 11.9% in the month of June, according to data from S&P Capital IQ. Prices swooned fairly consistently across the trading month, with or without obvious catalysts, but the largest overnight plunge followed what some investors might consider a positive development.
So what: On June 16, news broke that Kodak had signed over more than 204,000 square feet of its Eastman Business Park to medical marijuana grower Columbia Care. Though carefully worded to convey a positive message, the press release could easily be interpreted as a panic move designed to squeeze value out of Kodak's obsolete and underused assets. In that light, the quick 7% price drop would make sense.
Now what: The Kodak of old would never have plunged on an innocent news release like this one.
The stock that emerged from Kodak's bankruptcy process in 2013 is a thinly traded minnow, easily manipulated and shifted by relatively small events. A misunderstood press release can certainly move this stock. It was different 10 years ago, when Kodak still was a Dow member and way too liquid to be moved by simple misunderstandings.
And it really is a misunderstanding. "More than 200,000 square feet" sounds like a lot of underused office and factory space, the loss of which quite possibly could impede Kodak's own operations. But you know, that works out to less than 5% of Eastman Business Park's 1,200 acres. Moreover, Kodak made it clear that Columbia Care's marijuana fields will take over land that's been unused for years. The entire site used to be a Kodak film factory, but started turning into an all-purpose business complex with a variety of tenants nearly a decade ago.
This is really business as usual for Kodak's Rochester, N.Y., asset. If anything, it's actually a sizable business win that ties Kodak's business park to the rising medical marijuana industry.
Sometimes, Mr. Market just misreads what's going on and reacts all backward. Kodak in June was a great example of this sad truth.
Anders Bylund has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.