Thursday was a relatively quiet day on Wall Street, as stock market participants dealt with mixed signals. On one hand, positive news related to debt ceiling negotiations suggested that lawmakers and the White House might finally be able to move forward on key domestic policy issues. Yet Hurricane Irma now looks likely to hit not only Florida but also a wider swath of the Southeastern U.S., and the storm could prove one of the most costly natural disasters in the nation's history. But beyond the broader issues impacting the market as a whole, there was also some company-specific bad news that pushed individual stock prices lower. Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS), Aspen Insurance Holdings (NYSE: AHL), and Leggett & Platt (NYSE: LEG) were among the worst performers on the day. Below, we'll tell you why they did so poorly.
Barnes & Noble takes another loss
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Barnes & Noble dropped 9.6% after the book-centric retailer announced poor results from its fiscal first-quarter. Total revenue sank 7% on a nearly 5% drop in comparable-store sales, and in contrast to prior periods, much of the weakness came from outside its traditional book business. The retailer's net losses narrowed from year-ago levels, but not by as much as most analysts following the stock had hoped. Barnes & Noble management said they were hopeful that the remainder of the year will go better, but many of the adverse trends that have plagued the bookseller for years look likely to continue for the foreseeable future.
Aspen anticipates Irma
Aspen Insurance Holdings fell 10.3% as the insurance sector continued to wrestle with the implications of a second major hurricane hitting the U.S. in less than a month. One industry analyst predicted that damage from Hurricane Irma could eclipse what Hurricane Katrina wrought if the placement of the storm's track is particularly unfortunate, with a worst-case scenario of more than $125 billion in losses. Aspen has considerable reinsurance exposure to Florida, and although forecasters aren't entirely certain where Irma will hit, the current likely path shows a strong blow across much of the state that could be particularly devastating for homeowners.
Leggett & Platt cuts guidance
Finally, Leggett & Platt shares fell 6.5%. Late Wednesday, the diversified manufacturing company reduced its full-year 2017 EPS guidance range by $0.15 per share to a new range of $2.40 to $2.50 per share on an adjusted basis. The company said that steel cost inflation and demand weakness in the furniture and bedding retail markets were primarily responsible. However, Leggett & Platt left its sales guidance unchanged, and announced that it had sold off its Masterack van racking and shelf and storage system division, divesting itself completely from the commercial vehicle products industry. Investors weren't pleased to see the guidance cut, especially given the company's reputation as a solid dividend payer.
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