Friday was a tough day for the stock market, and although major market benchmarks like the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrials fell between 1% and 2%, the Nasdaq Composite finished with a greater than 3% decline. After the January employment report included a slowdown in job growth in the U.S., stocks initially fell, but the declines got much larger due to extreme weakness from some technology stocks that had formerly been high-flyers in the sector.
Oil prices fell, putting pressure on the energy sector, as well. Tableau Software (NYSE:DATA) was the biggest loser in the stock market outside of the microcap arena, and News Corp. (NASDAQ:NWSA) and Lions Gate Entertainment (NYSE:LGF-A) also posted significant declines on the day.
Tableau Software lost half its value Friday after the maker of data visualization software announced its fourth-quarter results Thursday afternoon. The Big Data company said that revenue jumped 42% from the year-earlier quarter, producing earnings per share that doubled the consensus forecast among investors. Yet what investors seemed to focus on was the fact that the share of revenue that the company generated from licensing activity fell short of what investors had expected.
Moreover, in the conference call following the report, Tableau cut its guidance for 2016, and projected full-year earnings in a range that could be as much as two-thirds below investor expectations. Some took the news as a sign that fierce competition and sluggish conditions among enterprise customers have combined to reduce the profit potential in the space. Given the earnings multiple at which Tableau and many of its Big Data peers trade, shareholders immediately sent their stocks plunging.
News Corp. fell 9% in the aftermath of its own earnings release Thursday afternoon. The media giant reported that currency-adjusted revenues rose just 2% year over year, and adjusted earnings fell 17%. The company continued to see its legacy print-media and book-publishing business suffer, and News Corp.'s cable network franchises are also under pressure from cord-cutting in light of Internet-based alternatives to traditional television programming. News Corp. did succeed in growing its digital advertising revenues as it ramps up its efforts on the Internet and mobile fronts, but its legacy assets will likely hold News Corp.'s stock back until it can figure out how to make orderly transitions to its more-promising lines of business.
Finally, Lions Gate Entertainment plummeted 27%. The company's fiscal third-quarter financial report produced weaker results than anticipated, including a revenue decline of almost 11%, and earnings that plunged nearly 60% from the year-ago quarter. The final installment of the Hunger Games franchise didn't do as well as many investors had hoped, and higher costs sapped some of its profits away.
The main issue going forward is that, without Hunger Games to rely on, Lions Gate will have to come up with other ways to replace the franchise's sales and income in the future. Television programming is the logical choice, but it's unclear whether that segment will do well enough to generate the long-term results the content-producer wants.