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Why these five ASX shares were smashed by the market today

It’s been a torrid few days for shareholders of a number of companies, with two household names both shedding more than 50% of their value in the past week of trading.

The Mondayitis extended to a number of other stocks, who were also punished by the market for various reasons. Here’s what you need to know about the declines at:

ALS Ltd (ASX: ALQ) shares declined 22% to $3.71 after the company resumed trade, following lower profits and an accelerated capital raising at a steep discount that was announced during a trading halt on Friday. Given that shares were offered at $3.35 apiece, a steep discount to Thursday’s closing price of $4.80, it’s no surprise that the stock plunged.

Shares in St Barbara Ltd (ASX: SBM) and EVOLUTION FPO (ASX: EVN) lost 11% and 10% to $1.01, and $1.12 respectively today as the value of gold plunged by 1.5% overnight.

Gold is now down 9.5% for the year, although its outlook remains uncertain given that a number of factors such as US interest rates, the Aussie dollar and the global inflation outlook could pull prices in either direction. Evolution Mining, in particular, is starting to look cheap at today’s prices, while St Barbara looks very expensive.

Dick Smith Holdings Ltd (ASX: DSH) shares were smashed down an incredible 57.6% to $0.28 today after surprise write-downs on its inventory and an announcement that the company had no guarantee of meeting its previous guidance (which has already been revised downwards this year). Shares are now down a staggering 87.5% in the past twelve months, and it is difficult to see a recovery in sight as competitors JB Hi-Fi Limited (ASX: JBH) and Harvey Norman Holdings Ltd (ASX: HVN) go from strength to strength.

Last but not least, Pacific Brands Limited (ASX: PBG) shares lost 7.6% to $0.67. Shares are up 29% for the year though, and today’s fall could represent profit taking as well as a reflection that further gains are unlikely to materialise as the stock looks fully valued. Pacific Brands faces several headwinds, including ever-fickle consumers and a slowing economy, and I’m not surprised to see shares fall from recent 52-week highs.

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Motley Fool contributor Sean O'Neill has no position in any stocks mentioned. Unless otherwise noted, the author does not have a position in any stocks mentioned by the author in the comments below. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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