Why Abercrombie & Fitch, First Solar, and Hibbett Sports Slumped Today

By Markets Fool.com

Friday was a down day for the stock market, which reacted negatively as U.S. long-term interest rates climbed to their highest levels in nearly a year. Some investors are nervous about the potential impact of rising bond yields on the stock market, especially given that exposure to high-income dividend stocks has in some cases climbed above what's consistent with risk tolerances among market participants. While declines in major market benchmarks were small, some stocks got hit hard. Among the worst performers were Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE: ANF), First Solar (NASDAQ: FSLR), and Hibbett Sports (NASDAQ: HIBB). Below, we'll look more closely at these stocks to tell you why they did so poorly.

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Image source: Abercrombie & Fitch.

Abercrombie falls out of fashion

Abercrombie & Fitch dropped 14% after the retailer's third-quarter financial results were much weaker than investors wanted to see. Earnings of $0.12 per share were 40% less than the consensus forecast among those following the stock, and it reported falling same-store sales for the third consecutive quarter. The company had hoped that its efforts to transform its brand would pay off in higher sales, with moves including a new logo and a marketing push. However, even though the Hollister store concept managed to post flat sales at stores open at least a year, A&F's namesake stores saw comparable sales drop 14%, leading a 6% overall decline in comps. Unless Abercrombie & Fitch can get things turned around for the holiday quarter, shareholders might finally start to lose patience with the retailer's efforts to get back in touch with shoppers in the teens and 20s.

First Solar gets stuck in the shade

First Solar fell 6% after the solar giant got a downgrade from analysts at UBS. The analyst company said that First Solar would likely have to cut back on its expectations for the full 2018 year eventually, downgrading the company's stock from neutral to sell and slashing its price target to $25. The stock had already sold off after First Solar's 2017 financial guidance report earlier in the week, which included an announcement that it would lay off more than a quarter of its workforce. Investors are unclear about whether the company's acceleration of its new series of solar module and its efforts to restructure operations will be enough to withstand new challenges from a Trump administration and its expected fossil-fuel dependent energy policy, and until things get clearer, First Solar could have trouble encouraging its shareholders.

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Hibbett has a tough fall

Finally, Hibbett Sports dropped 11%. The athletic specialty retailer released its third-quarter results today, reporting soft sales in seasonal apparel that offset gains from the key back-to-school season. The colder-weather line of apparel was a particularly weak area for Hibbett. The company believes that the investments that it has made in its omni-channel initiative will eventually produce positive results despite having an immediate negative influence on earnings during the quarter, and Hibbett's first new store in California could open up new territory for the retailer. Nevertheless, until things get more clearly positive, Hibbett investors will remain nervous about its future in a tough industry environment.

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