Why Barnes & Noble, Rite Aid, and Juniper Networks Slumped Today

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The stock market surged higher on Thursday, with major benchmarks setting records and the Dow soaring above the 24,000 mark for the first time. Fears that lawmakers in Congress wouldn't be able to come to consensus on proposed tax reform appear to have calmed, and investors are increasingly looking forward to the positive impact that lower corporate taxes could have on business profits and share prices. Yet even though the markets were up sharply, some stocks still missed out on the rally and lost ground. Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS), Rite Aid (NYSE: RAD), and Juniper Networks (NYSE: JNPR) 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.

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Barnes & Noble closes the book on a tough quarter

Shares of Barnes & Noble sank 11.5% after the bookseller reported its fiscal second-quarter financial results. Revenue was down 8% on a 6% drop in comparable sales, and although some of the weakness was due to the year-earlier release of the latest book in the Harry Potter universe, sales of items other than books also fell significantly. The company intends to make a strategic shift to emphasize books more strongly, as well as looking at smaller store layouts and making cost-cutting measures, but investors still doubt whether the former book giant will be able to regain its past glory in an increasingly internet-dominated industry.

Rite Aid gives back part of its gains

Rite Aid stock dropped 7%, sinking after what had been a strong week for the drugstore retailer. Shares had been up as much as 40% for the week following news that Rite Aid had completed the sale of a small number of its store locations to Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ: WBA) as part of its larger agreement covering more than 1,900 stores. Yet despite the fact that Rite Aid will get much-needed cash from the deal that should help it pay down costly debt, the big question remains regarding how the drugstore chain intends to compete against even stronger rivals like Walgreens. At this point, investors still likely would prefer an acquisition partner to emerge to finish what Walgreens started.

Juniper: No buyer after all

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Finally, Juniper Networks finished down 6%. The networking stock essentially gave up all of its gains from Wednesday's session, during which Juniper advanced on rumors that Nokia (NYSE: NOK) was looking to purchase the company for as much as $16 billion. When Nokia issued a press release saying that it was not currently in talks with Juniper or looking to make a future offer, the stock fell. Given the challenges that Juniper has dealt with in its business lately, some shareholders were likely disappointed that they wouldn't be able to take advantage of the easy exit strategy a buyout bid would have offered.

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