Why these 4 shares are taking a beating today

Credit: Target

After briefly hitting 5,400 points, the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX:XJO) has given back some of today’s early gains and is now trading just 0.1% higher at 5,378 points.

A number of big name shares have taken a beating today including:

Wesfarmers Ltd (ASX: WES)

Wesfarmers is the biggest drag on the overall market today with its shares falling more than 3.4% to $40.45. After yesterday’s disappointing update, some analysts are now questioning whether or not the company will have to cut its dividend. Morgan Stanley is the most bearish and believes Wesfarmers may have to cut its dividend by around 10% and has also lowered its earnings per share forecast by around 7%. Wesfarmers shares are usually a core holding for most SMSF investors so the news of a possible dividend cut is obviously bad for income investors.

Wesfarmers shares have lost more than 8% over the past 12 months.

Suncorp Group Ltd (ASX: SUN)

Suncorp is the second biggest drag on the overall market today with its shares falling 4.2% to $12.64. The bank and insurer held an investor day yesterday and it appears a number of brokers were left unimpressed with the outlook for the company. Both Credit Suisse and UBS have downgraded the shares to neutral from an outperform and buy, respectively. Suncorp revealed that it expects low-single digit gross written premium (GWP) growth for the remainder of FY16, before an acceleration in earnings growth in FY17 and FY18. The company has also set a medium term return on equity (ROE) target of at least 10%.

Shares of Suncorp have fallen 5.7% over the past 12 months.

Blackmores Limited (ASX: BKL)

Blackmores shares have lost more than 2.5% today after it was reported that a major Australian retailer has suffered a sharp decline in sales of vitamins and other products that are usually destined for the Chinese market. These ‘grey market’ sales have fallen as a result of changes to import regulations that were announced by the Chinese government in April. While it is impossible to determine exactly how much of Blackmores’ Australian sales are shipped to China, it is nevertheless considered to be a significant portion of its overall sales.

Shares of Blackmores have increased by 111% over the past 12 months.

Navitas Limited (ASX: NVT)

Shares of Navitas opened sharply lower today, but have clawed back some of those losses to trade 2% lower at $5.37. The move lower comes after the company announced it had been granted leave to appeal against a decision that will force one of its UK subsidiaries, SAE, to pay Value Add Tax (VAT) in the UK. The appeal is expected to be heard in about 8 to 12 months and Navitas hopes the appeal will be successful as this would obviously make its services in the UK more financially attractive to some students. As with most legal cases, the uncertainty it brings to investors is usually unwelcome and today’s market reaction is perhaps a reflection of this.

Shares of Navitas have gained 10% over the past 12 months.

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Motley Fool contributor Christopher Georges has no position in any stocks mentioned. 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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