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Why GameStop, Brinker International, and Square Slumped Today

Dan Caplinger, The Motley Fool

Wall Street largely played a waiting game on Tuesday, with most major benchmarks finishing close to where they started the session. Earnings season has continued to pull the market in both directions, and investors are also anxious to see what they can glean from the Federal Reserve's January meeting, which started today and will wrap up on Wednesday. Yet even amid the relative calm, some stocks suffered big declines. GameStop (NYSE: GME), Brinker International (NYSE: EAT), and Square (NYSE: SQ) were among the worst performers. Here's why they did so poorly.

GameStop gives up on its exit strategy

Shares of GameStop plunged more than 27% after the video game retailer said that it had concluded its efforts to try to sell the company. Last June, GameStop started reviewing a large set of different options in an effort to try to reverse its stock's long-term decline, and that process included looking at potential third-party buyers. However, the retailer said that there was a "lack of available financing on terms that would be commercially acceptable to a prospective acquirer," and it therefore plans to move forward on its own. With the need to find a CEO and put the proceeds of its Spring Mobile sale to use, GameStop doesn't have much margin for error.

Falling stock charts superimposed over digital map of the world

Image source: Getty Images.

Brinker leaves shareholders unsatisfied

Brinker International's stock sank nearly 11% following the restaurant operator's fiscal second-quarter financial report. The company behind the Chili's and Maggiano's restaurant concepts said that revenue and adjusted earnings moved only marginally higher, with solid comparable-restaurant sales gains in the U.S. market getting offset by a 6.5% plunge in comps for Chili's internationally. Despite higher earnings guidance for the full 2019 fiscal year, shareholders seemed concerned about the restaurant industry environment more broadly. Some investors remain optimistic about Brinker's prospects, but they might need some reassurance in the form of better financial results next quarter.

Square deals with a downgrade

Finally, shares of Square dropped 10%. The payment network specialist drew negative comments from analysts at Raymond James, who predicted that Square would see a slowdown in its revenue growth rate during the coming year. The analysts also put a price target of $56 on the stock, suggesting that it could see further declines from here. The key issue for Square is whether it can keep luring new subscribers into the fold and offer them an expanding set of products and services. Although Raymond James is skeptical, bullish shareholders will want to wait until Square itself weighs in with its earnings report in late February.

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