Why Did My Stock Just Die?

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Better-than-expected economic data here at home, coupled with a Europe apparently committed to fixing its financial house, sent markets higher. While your stock went and took a nosedive, don't panic. First, let's see whether it had good reason to fall. Sometimes, panic-fueled drops can make excellent buying opportunities. Here's the latest crop of cratered stocks that could provide a possibility for profit.

StockCAPS Rating(out of 5)Wednesday's Change
Miller Energy Resources (NAS: MILL) *(10.9%)
Durect (NAS: DRRX) ***(10.7%)
Lufkin Industries (NAS: LUFK) *****(8.8%)

With the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) jumping 131 points on Wednesday, or 1.2%, stocks that went down by even larger percentages are pretty big deals.

A dry hole
Oil and gas exploration company Miller Energy Resources didn't have any new news yesterday that should have dropped its stock, but the company has been under severe pressure since a short seller published an expose at the end of July claiming its Alaskan properties were not worth what the company claimed and that it had engaged in some less-than-forthright accounting. While the company issued an "open letter" from the CEO in response to the article -- I wouldn't exactly call it a rebuttal since it really didn't address the issues cited in the article -- trial lawyers have swarmed all over Miller, filing class action lawsuits against it, and its shares now trade almost 70% below their highs.

While Wall Street types think it will outperform the broad indexes, the broader CAPS community isn't so sure, as 60% of those weighing in think it can't beat the market. All-Stars are decidedly even more opposed to the possibility, with 83% thinking it will underperform, and its one-star rating suggests that they believe you should stay far away from it. Better bets would be Hess or even the newly IPO'd SandRidge Permian Trust, rated four and five stars, respectively.

Share your thoughts on the Miller Energy Resources CAPS page if you think it will come back from the dead, and then put it on your watchlist to keep track of its progress.

No pain, no gain
There was also no company-specific news to account for Durect's fall yesterday, but then again, there was no reason it should have jumped 18% the day before that. Yet the stock has been in a world of pain since June, when the FDA sent a complete response letter notifying Pfizer (NYS: PFE) and Pain Therapeutics that Remoxy, its abuse-resistant formulation of oxycodone, was a no-go over concerns about chemistry, manufacturing, and controls for the medicine. Durect helped develop Remoxy and was anticipating receiving royalties on its sale. It's a taffy-like capsule that prevents the oxycodone from being crushed, snorted, or injected.

A few weeks ago, Durect experienced a similar quick jump in its price, which I cautioned investors not to expect to hold. Without a catalyst one way or the other, you're likely to see these wide price swings from time to time, and you shouldn't make too much out of it one way or the other. But with 91% of CAPS members thinking Durect can beat the Street, it's apparent that they see a growth lever being pulled soon.

Tell us in the comments section below or on the Durect CAPS page where you see the next drivers coming from, and add it to your watchlist to be notified when they occur.

Power outage
Well, there was a reason for Lufkin Industries' move down, and that's because guidance for both the third and fourth quarters came in well below expectations. The energy industry equipment supplier said its machinery baked in the hot Texas sun this summer and apparently failed. Those issues were compounded by labor unrest in Argentina that affected shipments. Add in customer shipment delays, and you have a situation that's ripe to be taken down in this period of economic uncertainty.

The question is: Is Lufkin a one-off that's suffering from its own unique problems -- shares are down more than 50% from their highs hit back in April -- or is it a warning shot for the rest of the industry? Halliburton (NYS: HAL) will be reporting in two weeks and Schlumberger (NYS: SLB) the week after. Analysts anticipate that they'll be turning in quarterly results that are 58% and 47% higher, respectively. Of course, they thought Lufkin would be reporting profits that were 75% above last year's efforts.

CAPS member Keekers44 thinks Lufkin will be able to correct itself because its equipment is used in the popular Bakken region, so there should be no shortage of demand. With more than 200 All-Stars also weighing in, it's notable that only one thinks it won't outperform the market.

Drill down for additional insights on the Lufkin Industries CAPS page, and then add the stock to the Fool's free portfolio tracker to keep track of its progress.

At the time this article was published Fool contributorRich Dupreyholds no position in any company mentioned. Check out hisholdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Schlumberger.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Pfizer. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.

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