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Why Titan International, Hamilton Beach Brands, and Barnes & Noble Slumped Today

Dan Caplinger, The Motley Fool

Wall Street suffered further losses on Thursday, as most major stock indexes fell around 1% following news from Europe that suggested weak prospects for economic growth internationally. Although the U.S. has largely been able to avoid downward pressure from sluggish levels of business activity overseas, some fear that it won't be able to do so much longer. Moreover, some earnings reports signaled potential headwinds for certain industries in the U.S. Titan International (NYSE: TWI), Hamilton Beach Brands (NYSE: HBB), and Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS) were among the worst performers. Here's why they did so poorly.

Titan seems a little small

Shares of Titan International plunged 22% after the maker of construction and farming equipment reported its fourth-quarter financial results. The company said that sales for the quarter were down 3% from year-ago levels, with weakness in the agricultural and consumer divisions offsetting strength in the construction and earth-moving segment. Adjusted net losses more than doubled from the fourth quarter of 2017. Moreover, shareholders seemed dissatisfied with CEO Paul Reitz's guidance for 2019, which included calls for full-year sales growth of 6% to 7.5%. Given how much the stock has suffered throughout the past year, investors want to see more from Titan before they'll fully regain confidence in its growth prospects.

Case steamroller against a white background.

Image source: Titan Machinery.

Hamilton Beach sees a consumer slowdown

Hamilton Beach Brands stock fell 16.5% following the release of the company's fourth-quarter financial report. The maker of various kitchen and household small appliances said revenue for the holiday quarter fell 9% from the same period in 2017, and adjusted net income also fell over the same time frame. Hamilton Beach said that it saw lower sales volume in its consumer market, even though it worked hard to gain strong placements and promotional support from its retail partners. The company hopes for moderate growth in 2019, but a modest impact from tariffs could make it more difficult for Hamilton Beach to achieve its long-term growth objectives.

Barnes & Noble slams the book shut on the holidays

Finally, shares of Barnes & Noble dropped almost 13%. The bookseller said that sales in its fiscal third quarter were flat from year-ago results, with comparable-store sales climbing 1.1%. That was relatively strong compared to the recent past, and profits were also solid on an adjusted basis. However, investors had wanted to see better performance during the holiday period, and Barnes & Noble's guidance for the full year wasn't terribly encouraging. As book industry rival Amazon.com looks to open more bookstore locations, Barnes & Noble will see more pressure to mount a viable long-term turnaround strategy in order to survive.

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John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Dan Caplinger has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends AMZN. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.