Stocks slide as tech tumbles, Bed Bath & Beyond crashes

James G. Cole

U.S. stocks snapped a four-week winning streak on Friday, as all three indexes closed lower on the session and on the week as the summer rally lost momentum.

When the closing bell rang on Friday, the tech-heavy Nasdaq was down 2%, while the benchmark S&P 500 was off 1.3%, and the Dow down 0.9%.

For the week, the Nasdaq dropped over 2%, the S&P 500 fell 1.2%, while the Dow’s weekly losses were a more modest 0.2%.

The biggest stock story of the week came to an eventful conclusion on Friday, as shares of Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) crashed, falling 40% after GameStop (GME) chairman Ryan Cohen sold his entire 11.8% position in the company during Tuesday and Wednesday.

Cryptocurrencies were also in focus on Friday, with bitcoin (BTC-USD) falling around 8% to trade near $21,500, its lowest level since late July. The price of ethereum (ETH-USD) was also down more than 8% to trade below $1,700.

Like stocks, crypto markets have been enjoying a summer rally after bottoming mid-June.

WTI crude oil futures settled little-changed on Friday, losing 0.2% to settled at $90.29 a barrel. On Tuesday, crude futures settled at their lowest level — $86.53 a barrel — since January 25.

In individual stock news, a collapse in shares of Bed Bath & Beyond was the big story on Friday, with the stock down around 40% after GameStop chairman and activist investor Ryan Cohen disclosed on Thursday he exited his 11.8% position in the company.

Cohen’s RC Ventures disclosed plans to sell its stake in the troubled retailer in an SEC filing published Wednesday, and Cohen’s updated filing on Thursday showed he sold out of his Bed Bath & Beyond holdings during the trading day on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Stocks slide as tech tumbles, Bed Bath & Beyond crashes

A view of a Bed Bath & Beyond Inc franchise in Boca Raton, Florida January 6, 2010. REUTERS/Joe Skipper

Bloomberg also reported late Thursday that Bed Bath & Beyond has hired Kirkland & Ellis, a law firm known for its work in bankruptcy and restructuring situations, to help manage its increasing debt load.

This week’s rally in Bed Bath & Beyond reignited the meme stock trade that has periodically swept markets since January of 2021, when volatile trading in GameStop and AMC made national headlines.

Even with Friday’s collapse, Bed Bath & Beyond shares were down 15% this week and are still up more than 120% over the last month.

Retailers also remained a focus on the earnings side on Friday with shares of Foot Locker (FL) up more than 20% in early trading after announcing quarterly results that were better-than-expected and named a new CEO.

Foot Locker’s same-store sales fell 10.3% in the most recent quarter, less than the more than 14% decline expected by analysts, while earnings per share of $1.10 topped estimates for earnings of $0.80. The company expected same-store sales will fall 8%-9% in 2022; previously, Foot Locker expected same-store sales to drop closer to 10%.

Mary Dillon, formerly CEO at Ulta Beauty, was announced at Foot Locker’s next top executive, effective September 1.

Also on the retail side, shares of Wayfair (W) were down more than 16% after the company announced plans to about 900 employees, including 5% of its total workforce and 10% of its corporate team.

Earlier in the week, Walmart (WMT) and Target (TGT) offered results that allowed investors to breathe a sigh of relief regarding the state of the consumer, with both big box retailers offering quarterly results that were better-than-feared.

As Walmart CFO John David Rainey told Yahoo Finance this week, “I’d say that what we’re seeing is [consumers] are still relatively healthy.”

Shares of Occidential Petroleum (OXY) were also on move on Friday, rising as much as 9% following reports that Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-A, BRK-B) received regulatory approval to acquire as much as 50% of the company.

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