Hard-hit investors were still licking their wounds from a tough January when the stock market opened to substantial losses on Monday morning. Yet by the end of the day, stocks had largely recovered most of their earlier declines, and major market benchmarks finished the day down just small fractions of a percentage point. Oil stocks suffered from declines in the price of crude, but some losing issues were relatively unconnected to the energy sector. Among the worst performers were Nokia (NOK -0.80%), Mechel (MTL), and Roper Technologies (ROP 0.66%).
Nokia fell 12% in the wake of a partial victory in a patent dispute with handset maker Samsung. In the dispute, Nokia had sought to set compensation for how much Samsung would need to pay it as part of a broader deal to extend their licensing agreement for five years from the beginning of 2014 to the end of 2018. In a statement, Nokia said that the deal, when added to other revenue sources, would result in Nokia net sales of 400 million euros for the fourth quarter and 1.02 billion euros for the full 2015 year. Between 2016 and 2018, Nokia expects to take in about 1.3 billion related to ongoing and settled disputes, including the Samsung award. Yet the reason why the stock fell is that investors wanted Nokia to get more from the award, and so it's uncertain whether Nokia will reach the goals it had set for income from its patent portfolio.
Mechel plunged 25% as the Russian steel producer and iron ore and coal miner gave back all of the gains that it earned on Friday. Russia's stock market is generally tied to the prices of natural resources like oil and minerals, and so the volatility in commodity prices over the past week has led to substantial whipsawing in both directions for companies in the sector like Mechel. In Mechel's case, the swings tend to be more extreme because the company has been facing the threat of insolvency. The steelmaker hopes to approve debt-restructuring deals when it holds a special shareholder meeting in early March, but until investors are more comfortable that there will be a viable way through its debt woes, Mechel will likely continue to see abrupt movements as commodity markets stay unstable.
Finally, Roper Technologies fell 7%. The maker of engineered products and software for a wide variety of different industries posted its fourth-quarter financial report Monday morning, and the results disappointed investors. CEO Brian Jellison pointed to the positive impact of growth in its medical, software, and RF technology businesses, but the industrial segment and the energy systems and controls division both suffered substantial declines in revenue during the quarter. Moreover, operating profits for those hard-hit areas were also down, and the guidance that Roper gave was equally discouraging. Roper serves as a good reminder that even companies that don't appear on the surface to have exposure to energy are still struggling to grow because of the oil and gas industry's woes.