The stock market finished with a second straight day of losses on Tuesday, and this time, macroeconomic troubles across the world weighed on investor sentiment. Japanese stocks posted a 2.5% drop, and major markets in mainland Europe also posted substantial losses on fears that hoped-for economic stabilization and recovery might not come as quickly as investors want. In the U.S., losses were more modest, and key market measures fell about 0.75% to 1%. Nevertheless, the losses spurred nervousness about the immediate future for stocks, and companies such as Allergan (AGN), GoDaddy (GDDY 1.86%), and First Solar (FSLR 1.96%) fell much more sharply than the overall market.
Allergan plunged 15% after new rules governing tax inversions appeared to call into question whether the company's expected takeover by Pfizer will still achieve the tax savings that had originally motivated the transaction. After the rules were issued late yesterday, Pfizer and Allergan released a joint statement saying they were conducting a review of the new provisions and didn't expect to speculate on action until they had finished that review. In particular, Allergan could suffer from rules that penalize companies that have already done previous tax inversion transactions, because Allergan's merger with Actavis about a year ago involved a company that had benefited from inversion strategies. Given the negative attention companies have gotten for their attempts to save on taxes, Allergan investors fear the deal will end up not happening at all.
GoDaddy dropped 7% in the wake of its announcement that some of its existing private-equity shareholders will do a follow-on secondary offering of shares of the Internet technology company. Investors including Silver Lake Partners, Technology Crossover Ventures, and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts expect to sell 16.5 million shares of stock, worth about $500 million at current prices. GoDaddy won't receive any proceeds from the sale, and although there won't technically be any dilutive impact, some current shareholders fear that the pricing on the deal will pull shares down further. Still, the stock has held up well in the year since it went public, and even today's decline only partially ate into its big jump since February.
Finally, First Solar fell 7%. The solar giant announced a new agreement with Silicon Ranch to provide about 232 megawatts in thin-film modules for use in projects for construction in 2017 and early 2018. Yet even though the deal added to First Solar's presence in the southeastern U.S., investors focused instead on comments the solar giant made to analysts Tuesday. In particular, First Solar declined to project any guidance for 2017, and although it tried to emphasize that it didn't mean the comment as a warning, investors weren't entirely reassured. Moreover, achieving enough capacity to cover demand could remain a challenge for First Solar. Given the volatility solar stocks have seen lately, it's not surprising to see investors stepping away from First Solar shares -- at least for the time being.