Wednesday put continued pressure on the stock market, and investors appeared to focus on ongoing pressure in the energy sector and fears about global macroeconomic conditions in pushing major market benchmarks lower on the day. Declines for the broader indexes were generally around half a percent, which was better than the losses that Japan and major markets in Europe posted earlier in the day. Nevertheless, some individual stocks posted much larger declines than the Dow and S&P 500, and among those with the biggest falls were Under Armour (NYSE:UAA), Relypsa (NASDAQ:RLYP), and Holly Frontier (NYSE:HFC).
Under Armour dropped 8% after the company announced that two of its executives were leaving the athletic apparel specialist. Chief Merchandising Officer Henry Stafford has decided to leave the company as of July, with Kip Fulks taking on the CMO responsibilities as an interim executive in the position until a permanent replacement is found. Also, MapMyFitness co-founder Robin Thurston will also be leaving, and Under Armour named MyFitnessPal co-founder Michael Lee to replace Thurston as Chief Digital Officer. Some analysts following the stock argued that the multiple departures raised risks from potential discontinuities in strategic execution, although companies that have the fastest growth and the quickest strategic evolutions are often prone to high rates of turnover. Given Under Armour's success, it's vital for the company to preserve the vision that helped create its massive gains.
Relypsa plunged 19% in advance of its first-quarter financial report after the bell Wednesday afternoon. The reason for the decline earlier in the day had to do with the pricing of some debt financing that the drugmaker obtained in a private placement announced Tuesday afternoon. Relypsa raised $150 million in senior secured term loans from private equity investors, with the terms including a six-year maturity and an interest rate of 11.5%. The loans will incur interest only for the first 30 months, with principal payments kicking in after that point. Relypsa will use the proceeds to pay down another outstanding loan as well as seeking to commercialize its Veltassa blood-potassium treatment. The deal is a big gamble on Veltassa's success, and the price that the company had to pay in interest costs shows that Relypsa is unlikely to be able to tap capital markets for much more funding in the future.
Finally, HollyFrontier lost 9%. The company was just the biggest decliner in a generally bad day for refining companies overall, and although the company's first-quarter financial report included earnings results that were better than most investors had expected, the big problem for the company has to do with its inability to grow refining margins despite higher throughput volume. Some fear that the best days for wide profit margins for HollyFrontier and other refinery companies have ended, and if crude oil prices sustain recent gains without greater increases in the prices for gasoline, diesel, and other refined fuels, the pinch could hurt HollyFrontier's shares further.