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Why Alkermes, Scholastic, and MGIC Investment Slumped Today

By Dan Caplinger - Jan 21, 2016 at 6:21PM

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These stocks fell even though the broader market managed to claw back some of its lost ground. Find out why.


Mortgage insurer MGIC was among the weaker stocks in the market on Thursday. Image source: StockMonkeys.com.

Investors managed to score what has become an increasingly rare winning day on Wall Street. Thursday brought much-needed gains in both the broad-market benchmark indexes and in the oil market, where crude oil bounced nearly back to the $30-per-barrel level. Yet even though dozens of stocks posted big advances on the day, there were still many stocks that didn't participate in the rally. Among them were Alkermes (ALKS -0.43%), Scholastic (SCHL 0.25%), and MGIC Investment (MTG 1.95%), each of which posted substantial losses in Thursday's market session.

Alkermes plunged 44%, responding negatively to the biopharmaceutical company's release of trial results from two phase 3 studies of its lead candidate treatment for major depressive disorder. The study results showed that neither one reached its primary endpoint in support of ALKS 5461, although Alkermes asserted that based on some further analysis after the study, it believes that one of the studies provided supportive evidence of the drug's efficacy in its higher dose. Nevertheless, Alkermes now plans to continue its third phase 3 study of the drug in the hopes that it will provide more unequivocal evidence of success. Investors weren't convinced, and with so much riding on ALKS 5461's success, the stock responded to a substantial likelihood that the drug might never get Food and Drug Administration approval for the treatment of depression.

Scholastic fell 11% after the children's book publisher and educational company decided to terminate a tender offer to purchase up to $200 million of its common stock. Scholastic had started the tender offer at the end of December, with plans to purchase as much as 5.4 million shares at a range of between $37 and $40 per share. However, the terms of the original offer had specified that if any major stock market benchmark fell 10% or more, then Scholastic would have the right to cancel the tender offer. The Nasdaq fulfilled that requirement last week, and further declines this week led the company to make the decision to pull the offering. Whether the company will try again at a lower price remains to be seen, but the fact that Scholastic shares fell in line with the market's overall drop for 2016 shows the upward support that the tender offer provided while it was outstanding.

Finally, MGIC Investment dropped 13%. The mortgage insurance provider announced fourth-quarter results that fell short of what investors had expected to see, posting adjusted net earnings of $0.26 per share. MGIC has made a lot of progress, cutting its percentage of delinquent loans by nearly 2 full percentage points to 6.31% and thereby complying with the financial provisions of the private mortgage insurer eligibility requirements that government agencies like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac require. Nevertheless, concerns about the state of the housing market are expected to prompt changes in the way that MGIC prices its mortgage products, and some worry that the resulting impact could reduce the volume MGIC sees in providing mortgage insurance in 2016 and beyond.

Dan Caplinger 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.

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Stocks Mentioned

MGIC Investment Corporation Stock Quote
MGIC Investment Corporation
MTG
$15.65 (1.95%) $0.30
Scholastic Corporation Stock Quote
Scholastic Corporation
SCHL
$46.01 (0.25%) $0.12
Alkermes plc Stock Quote
Alkermes plc
ALKS
$25.50 (-0.43%) $0.11

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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