Why Perrigo, New Age Beverages, and Editas Medicine Slumped Today

The stock market continued its losing ways on Friday, sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average to another triple-digit decline and setting the stage for what could be the worst month for stocks since the Great Recession in 2008 and 2009. On top of all the macroeconomic issues facing investors, including trade tensions and the threat of an economic slowdown, Washington politics are rearing their ugly head with a potential government shutdown that could take effect just after midnight Saturday morning. Most major stock indexes fell 2% to 3%, but some individual companies took much bigger hits. Perrigo (NYSE: PRGO), New Age Beverages (NASDAQ: NBEV), and Editas Medicine (NASDAQ: EDIT) were among the worst performers on the day. Here's why they did so poorly.

The tax man cometh for Perrigo

Shares of Perrigo plunged 29% on news that the maker of over-the-counter drugs and other consumer products might have to pay a huge tax bill to the Irish government. The controversy centers on an asset sale between Perrigo subsidiary Elan Pharma and biotech company Biogen, on which Elan claimed a preferential tax rate on profits. Ireland believes that a higher tax rate was appropriate, and it's now going after the difference. Given that the tax hit could amount to more than a quarter of its market capitalization, investors in Perrigo are basically pricing the stock as though losing the case is a sure thing.

New Age gives back ground

New Age Beverages stock sank 18%, giving up all of its gains in recent days. The specialist in cannabidiol-derived beverage products had seen its shares soar last week on hopes that the legalization of hemp products in the U.S. might set the stage for a broader initiative to permit cannabis sales in the long run. Now that the president's signature enacted that hemp provision into law, however, shareholders seem to be searching for another catalyst for gains for New Age Beverages. With other players in the marijuana industry having found lucrative partnerships with massive consumer goods and healthcare companies, New Age will want a similar arrangement to maximize its potential.

Editas loses a key executive

Finally, shares of Editas Medicine finished lower by 21%. The genome editing company said that CFO Andrew Hack would leave the company as of the beginning of March 2019, with the intent of returning to the investing industry. "I am pleased to have been part of the success of the organization," Hack said, "and believe that with the FDA acceptance of our [investigational new drug application] for our LCA10 program, this is a natural transition point." Yet investors seemed to fear some other motive for the departure, and Editas will have to prove it can capitalize on its opportunities in order to dispel those concerns.

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Dan Caplinger has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Editas Medicine. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.