Markets
MO

Why 3M, Xilinx, and Altria Group Slumped Today

Thursday was another mixed day on Wall Street, with a balanced helping of good and bad earnings reports among the dozens of companies that announced their latest results. Investors are seeing the highest flow of quarterly reports so far this earnings season, and how major benchmarks performed today depended in large part on which parts of the market each particular index stressed. There were some high-profile stocks that posted sizable losses following disappointing earnings news, and 3M (NYSE: MMM), Xilinx (NASDAQ: XLNX), and Altria Group (NYSE: MO) were among the worst performers. Here's why they did so poorly.

3M disappoints investors

Shares of 3M plunged 13% after the maker of Post-it notes gave a financial report for the first quarter that resulted in the stock's biggest loss since the 1987 market crash. Revenue at 3M was down 5% from year-earlier levels, contributing to an 11% drop in adjusted earnings per share. CEO Mike Roman called the results "a disappointing start to the year for 3M," attributing the shortfall to poor conditions in key end markets and subpar operational execution. In response, the conglomerate will restructure in an effort to improve productivity, cut expenses, and boost cash flow. Yet many investors don't seem convinced that the moves will be enough to create meaningful change at 3M, and poor performance in several key segments suggests that there could be more pain in the short run before things get better for the company.

Several people in front of bulletin boards with a wide assortment of Post-it Notes.

Image source: 3M.

Xilinx falls short

Xilinx saw its stock drop 17% following the release of its fiscal fourth-quarter financial results. The chipmaker said that revenue was up 30% for the quarter compared to the year-earlier period, resulting in a 34% jump in adjusted earnings per share over the same time frame. CEO Victor Peng celebrated the end of a successful fiscal year for the company, pointing to particularly strong success in its advanced product business. Growth rates were highest in the Asia-Pacific region and in the communications end market. Yet investors had wanted to see signs of faster growth, especially in light of even better performance from some of its peers. Xilinx is hopeful it can tap into the growth potential of 5G, but shareholders fear that competition will be fierce.

Altria gets smoked

Finally, shares of Altria Group fell 6%. The cigarette giant said that adjusted earnings per share in the first quarter of 2019 fell 5% from the year-earlier period, driven by a nearly 8% drop in revenue. Domestic cigarette shipment volume plunged 14%, led lower by a more than 3 billion unit drop in shipments of Altria's key Marlboro brand. Rising gas prices weighed on consumer purchases, leading Altria to project an even larger full-year volume drop than previously anticipated. The tobacco titan expects to implement cost-saving measures to try to improve profits, but investors don't seem confident that Altria will be able to meet its 2019 guidance -- or that recent investments in e-cigarette company Juul or cannabis producer Cronos Group will pay off.

Offer from The Motley Fool: The 10 best stocks to buy now
Motley Fool co-founders Tom and David Gardner have spent more than a decade beating the market. In fact, the newsletter they run, Motley Fool Stock Advisor, has quadrupled the S&P 500!*

Tom and David just revealed their ten top stock picks for investors to buy right now.

Click here to get access to the full list!

*Stock Advisor returns as of Jan. 31, 2019.

Dan Caplinger has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends 3M and Xilinx. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

In This Story

MO MMM XLNX

The Motley Fool

Founded in 1993 in Alexandria, VA., by brothers David and Tom Gardner, The Motley Fool is a multimedia financial-services company dedicated to building the world's greatest investment community. Reaching millions of people each month through its website, books, newspaper column, radio show, television appearances, and subscription newsletter services, The Motley Fool champions shareholder values and advocates tirelessly for the individual investor. The company's name was taken from Shakespeare, whose wise fools both instructed and amused, and could speak the truth to the king -- without getting their heads lopped off.

Learn More