Why Las Vegas Sands, Whirlpool, and F5 Networks Slumped Today

By Dan Caplinger Markets Fool.com

The stock market lost some of its upward momentum on Thursday, as major market benchmarks finished the day narrowly mixed. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite both lost less than 0.1%, but the Dow Jones Industrials managed to post a gain of 32 points, which sent the average above the far less meaningful level of 20,100. Investors largely responded to corporate earnings, and because an increasing number of reports will come out over the next couple of weeks, earnings could well drive the market's overall moves in the near future.

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Some stocks didn't post good news, and Las Vegas Sands (NYSE: LVS), Whirlpool (NYSE: WHR), and F5 Networks (NASDAQ: FFIV) were among the worst performers on the day. Below, we'll look more closely at these stocks to tell you why they did so poorly.

Image source: Las Vegas Sands.

Las Vegas Sands takes a hit

Las Vegas Sands fell 7% after the casino giant announced its fourth-quarter financial results. Sands posted a 7% rise in revenue during the fourth quarter compared to the year-ago period, but adjusted net income eased downward by 0.6%, leaving earnings per share flat. The big culprit for the company was its Macau operations, where a recent uptick in performance after a two-year plunge hasn't resulted in the snapback that investors had hoped to see.

With its industry rivals opening new resorts in Macau, Sands can expect to see increased competition that could eat into its market share in the Asian gaming capital. Although potential growth opportunities exist, such as an expected approval for a gaming resort in Japan, Sands nevertheless has to navigate volatile conditions and potential moves from the Chinese government affecting Macau in order to return to a more attractive growth trajectory over the long run.

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Whirlpool deals with European weakness

Whirlpool dropped 9% in the wake of its disappointing fourth-quarter earnings report Thursday morning. The appliance maker said that net income was unchanged from the year-ago quarter, with only a decrease in outstanding share count driving earnings per share slightly higher. Sales in the North American region were relatively strong, but an 8% drop in currency-adjusted revenue in the Europe, Middle East, and Africa segment came from weaker margins in the U.K. market.

Whirlpool blamed the Brexit vote to leave the European Union for much of its European weakness, but investors were also displeased with the company's 2017 guidance. Even with today's decline, though, Whirlpool stock is still up 17% since the end of October.

F5 disconnects

Finally, F5 Networks declined 8%. The network services provider reported solid results in its fiscal first-quarter report, including a 5.4% rise in sales and adjusted earnings of $1.98 per share. Yet investors weren't entirely happy with F5's outlook, which included revenue projections that were slightly lower than their consensus forecast.

With CEO John McAdam poised to leave the top spot after returning from retirement last year, investors seem uncertain that the company's performance in the cloud-computing and security-products niches will be able to propel F5 to the next level. Competition will be fierce in those areas, but those who see F5 as having a competitive advantage will have the opportunity to pick up shares at a bargain price after today's decline.

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Dan Caplinger has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.