What: After falling more than 16% to start this week after the company revealed significant management changes, shares of Qunar Cayman Islands, Ltd. (QUNR) dropped another 11% Thursday, as the broader Chinese stock market continued its precipitous decline. Qunar is also now facing a number of shareholder lawsuits related to its management turnover and recent decline.
So what: Similar to Qunar's plunge on Monday, The Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index fell another 7% today, while the Shenzhen Composite Index declined more than 8%. Once again, the decline triggered so-called circuit breakers instituted by Chinese authorities to suspend trading and limit losses. China's central bank responded Thursday by announcing it would inject another $10.6 billion into the financial system.
Meanwhile, U.S.-traded Chinese stocks continued to plunge, especially as the moves indicated concern over the continued slowing of growth for China's economy. Qunar wasn't alone today: Shares of Ctrip.com (TCOM -0.09%) declined more than 5% today, and Chinese web giant Baidu (BIDU 0.58%) dropped more than 6%. For perspective, in October, Ctrip completed a share swap with Baidu in exchange for shares worth roughly 45% of Qunar's voting interest, then announced a long-term collaboration with Qunar to strengthen the online Chinese travel industry.
In the wake of that collaboration, Qunar also surprised investors Monday by announcing the appointment of a new CEO, a new chief operating officer, and a new chief financial officer. The departing management seemed to be doing so on good terms -- both its former CEO and CFO are sticking around as senior advisors for another quarter -- and the moves followed previous significant changes to Qunar's structure and board of directors.
Now what: Perhaps predictably, however, at least two law firms stepped out today announcing shareholder suits against Qunar, blaming the recent share-price declines on the abrupt management turnover, and commencing investigations as to whether the company violated federal securities laws in the process.
Whether these suits ultimately turn out to have merit remains to be seen, but I'll reiterate that it appears China's broader-market declines are the single-largest culprit here. While I'm personally content watching Qunar's progress from the sidelines, I think investors would still be wise to continue focusing on the fundamentals driving its business.