What: Shares of Container Store Group Inc. (NYSE:TCS) were losing control on Tuesday, finishing the session down 10.4% as the stock sank gradually over the course of the day. There was no news pushing shares downward, and trading volume was less than normal, indicating this was not a news-driven movement.
Instead, the stock seemed to be pulling back after a 20% gain over the three previous sessions, which also seemed driven purely by momentum. Tuesday's drop also came as the S&P 500 fell 1.1%, as the broad market index tends to have an exaggerated effect on volatile stocks such as The Container Store.
So what: It's easy to want to dismiss Tuesday's movement as irrelevant, but the pullback seems to cap an end to a bull run in the stock that began on Feb. 11, as the S&P 500 bounced off a 22-month low. Container Store stock had been bid up more than 50% until Tuesday's sell-off on an apparent short squeeze as the market became increasingly confident that there would be no recession, and investors plowed into beaten-down plays such as The Container Store, which had fallen more than 90% from its post-IPO peak. As of the end of January, 29% of the stock was sold short
Now what: After the recent recovery, shares of the embattled stock once again seem overvalued, trading at a P/E of 32. The company has done nothing but disappoint the market in its brief history as a publicly traded entity, and its recent performance has provided no basis for the optimism that pushed the stock up.
In its most recent quarter, the organizational retailer posted a per-share loss of $0.05 on expectations of a $0.04 profit, while comparable sales increased just 0.5%. That's not the kind of organic growth that's going to turn a breakeven business profitable.
With headwinds against the general retail sector and The Container Store unable to display any positive catalysts in its recent reports, I see little reason for the stock to move higher unless performance significantly improves. We won't get an update on that until the company reports fourth-quarter earnings at the end of April.