All eyes might be on the threat of having Greece and Europe go their separate ways, but probably the more important economic news is the slowdown under way in China. For the seventh straight month the PMI has shown the economy in contraction, while factory export orders tumbled in May.
That helps explain the weakness the markets exhibited on Friday, but some companies turned tail and fell harder still, so first let's see whether they had good reason to drop. Sometimes, panic-fueled declines can make excellent buying opportunities.
What's the solution?
Medical-device maker Delcath Systems (NAS: DCTH) did itself in by planning to sell 13.3 million shares for just $1.50 and also selling warrants to buy another 4 million shares at the same price. There's rarely incentive for the market to keep a stock's price elevated when the company itself has limited price appreciation.
The $18 million it hopes to raise is going primarily for general corporate purposes, but also to fund clinical trials of its products. Its Chemostat chemotherapy system treats tumors in the liver, delivering significantly higher doses of drugs to the organ without risking exposure to the whole body. While it has European approval to sell the product, the FDA hasn't signed off on it. Delcath has been trying to get ahead of others like Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYS: BMY) , which had its own problems with its experimental liver cancer drug brivanib.
Delcath warned investors it might do something like this back in February, when it filed a shelf registration for the shares, which gives a company up to two years to sell the shares. Highly rated CAPS All-Star zzlangerhans predicted Delcath would dilute current shareholders, though our CAPS member hoped it would come at some later point: "The question here is whether Delcath can gain some traction after refiling the Chemosat NDA in August before the inevitable large dilutive financing, and if they can actually manage to book some revenue in Europe this quarter."
Although 87% of those rating the medical-device maker believe it will still outperform the broad indexes, its low two-star rating suggests they also think there are better places for your money. Add Delcath to your Watchlist to see how well it spends the money, and then tell us on the Delcath Systems CAPS page or in the comments section below whetheryou think they'll end up going back to the well again.
Out of print
Trade protectionists make lousy economists, as they often prescribe exactly the wrong medicine at precisely the wrong time. President Obama's decision to protect us from cheap Chinese imports by imposing trade tariffs is a prime example making a bad situation worse and will likely cause even more problems beyond the narrow confines of the solar industry.
LDK Solar (NYS: LDK) is China's second biggest manufacturer of wafers, and it announced it is subject to a preliminary tariff of as much as 31%, which sent its stock tumbling 15%. It followed that up on Friday with another 13% fall and a huge plummet on Tuesday. Suntech Power (NYS: STP) and JA Solar (NAS: JASO) were also lower.
China's taking up the tariff issue with the World Trade Organization, and if the country reacts as it has in the past, expect to see retaliatory tariffs imposed. But not on solar -- China will go after other industries the way it did when Obama added tariffs on tire imports and steel. Cars and chickens ended up bearing the brunt of the protectionist policies.
But worse is that the tariffs are one more thing affecting Chinese manufacturing, which, as I mentioned, could be coming in for a harder landing than many people thought. So kicking it when it's down will not help China at a time when the rest of the world would benefit from its continued growth.
LDK, of course, has problems all its own. As in the natural gas industry, where they continue drilling despite being awash in inventory, the wafer maker is planning on bringing more polysilicon capacity online even though there's a glut and prices have tanked. I previously rated it on CAPS to underperform the market because of such shortsighted policies, but tell me in the comments section below or on the LDK Solar CAPS page whether you agree that trade wars are horrible things to launch in a recession, and then add the solar shop to the Fool's free portfolio tracker to see whether it can still shine.
Ready for a resurrection
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At the time thisarticle was published Fool contributor Rich Duprey holds no position in any company mentioned. Check out hisholdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.
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