Why Salesforce, AZZ, and Gigamon Slumped Today

By Markets Fool.com

Image source: Salesforce.com.

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Wednesday was a good day for the stock market, with the Dow gaining back all of its lost ground from Tuesday's session and other major market benchmarks clawing back a substantial portion of previous declines. In typical Wall Street fashion, investors had second thoughts about their negative views about the state of the financial markets, choosing to see yesterday's drop as an overreaction to threats of instability in the European Union and other global concerns. Yet even though the broader market posted gains, some stocks still managed to post big losses on the day. Among the worst performers were Salesforce.com (NYSE: CRM), AZZ (NYSE: AZZ), and Gigamon (NYSE: GIMO).

Salesforce investors worry about a potential M&A mistake

Salesforce.com fell 6% in the wake of concerns that the cloud-computing specialist might end up purchasing the struggling microblogging company Twitter (NYSE: TWTR). The social-media company said that it would conclude its negotiations with potential buyers by the end of the month, and some have speculated that Salesforce might be in the running. After the market closed, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said that the microblogging company has "severe challenges," spurring a small after-hours rebound in the stock as some interpreted the comments as implying that the cloud-computing company wouldn't make a bid. Nevertheless, there are some who believe that any combination between the two companies would be catastrophic, and investors can expect continued volatility until a final decision gets made.

AZZ earnings fall short

AZZ dropped 14% after the welding and galvanizing specialist announced fiscal second-quarter financial results that didn't match up with what investors had wanted to see. The company saw sales fall 9%, sending net income down by more than two-fifths and producing adjusted earnings of $0.55 per share, well below the $0.69 per share consensus forecast among investors. CEO Tom Ferguson blamed "the continuing effects of depressed markets in oil and gas, petrochemical, and solar" for weakness in its galvanizing segment, and its energy business also suffered from issues including refinery turnaround reductions and drops in maintenance spending during the quarter. Going forward, AZZ intends to realign its segments, and it hopes that efforts like selling off its nuclear logistics business will help it boost profits going forward.

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Gigamon takes a double hit

Finally, Gigamon declined by 6%. The communications network specialist suffered analyst downgrades from two different companies, with both D.A. Davidson and Raymond James reducing their views on the stock. The shares have more than quintupled over the past two years, and that fact appeared to play a role in the decisions of the two analyst companies. Indeed, Davidson actually boosted its target price while moving the company from buy to hold, and Raymond James said that Gigamon remains a potential acquisition target despite downgrading it from outperform to market perform. With investors remaining optimistic about Gigamon's fundamental prospects, the big question is whether the stock can keep flying high or will have to pause in its rapid advance at some point in the near future.

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Dan Caplinger has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Twitter. The Motley Fool recommends Azz and Salesforce.com. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.