The stock market continued its turbulent ride on Wednesday, although this time, the daily trajectory of the market from earlier in the week got reversed. Today, stocks rose to early gains, but then investor nervousness caused the market to drop off. The S&P 500 gave up all of its gains on the day, and several stocks suffered extensive losses. Among the worst performers on the day were SolarCity (SCTY.DL), RPX Corporation (RPXC), and ARM Holdings (ARMH).
SolarCity plunged 29% in the wake of its fourth-quarter financial report Tuesday afternoon. The residential solar installation specialist said that it installed only 870 megawatts of generation capacity during 2015, falling short of its own reduced guidance for the full year.
Even though the company was profitable, nervous investors pointed to the company's somewhat downbeat guidance for first-quarter installations, and even though it still expects 1,250 megawatts of installations for 2016, it will have to produce high growth rates in order to get there. Given the regulatory difficulties that SolarCity has faced in markets like Nevada, and the threat of further obstacles down the road, the solar installer will have to work hard in order to prove bearish investors wrong.
RPX Corporation fell 18%, also reacting badly to its fourth-quarter financials. The patent-protection company said that sales growth accelerated from the previous quarter, but earnings fell despite topping expectations. More importantly in the eyes of shareholders, RPX Corporation gave earnings guidance for the first quarter and for the full 2016 year that fell well short of what investors were looking for.
Even though RPX Corporation has done a good job of keeping its sales moving in the right direction, the question it has left unanswered is whether its spending on intellectual property assets will pay off in better bottom-line performance down the road. Until it can show better profits, RPX Corp. will still have something to prove to its shareholders.
Finally, ARM Holdings dropped 9%. The creator of processor technology said that its revenue rose 14%, with strength in its royalty income offsetting weakness in licensing revenue. Many investors continue to see the company as primarily a play on the smartphone market, and concerns about growth among the biggest handset manufacturers have those investors worried about ARM Holdings' ability to sustain its own upward trajectory.
The company believes that other opportunities, such as automobile connectivity and network infrastructure, will enable it to keep expanding even if smartphone sales industrywide do start to slow. Yet with the company having delivered billions of microprocessors for use in many of the most-popular mobile devices on the market, it's hard to count ARM Holdings out at this point in the business cycle.