PALM shares hammered 13% in one day | webOS Nation
 
 

PALM shares hammered 13% in one day

by Derek Kessler Fri, 30 Oct 2009 9:01 pm EDT

Palm

If you happen to own shares of Palm stock, I recommend you turn away now, because if you thought Tuesday and Wednesday were bad, then you might just faint after seeing today’s numbers: shares of Palm were down $1.80 - that’s -13.42% - today alone. Coupled with losses on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, the stock is down a painful 22.2% for this week alone, and 33.5% for October. This was the worst month for Palm stock since November 2008 when Palm dropped 52.9% (from $3.99 to $1.88), the last down month before Palm promised “new-ness” at CES 2009.

To put it in perspective, Palm dropped more today than the stock was worth on December 5, 2008 (a low close of $1.42). Still, a drop of 13% is nothing to sneeze at. In fact, it’s more something to have a stroke at. Stocks don’t drop like that without a reason. On a whole the entire stock market was down miserably today, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average and NASDAQ technology exchange both hit for -2.5% after the US government reported that consumer spending for September dropped by 0.5% (the worst in nine months and following a Cash for Clunkers fueled 1.9% uptick in August). Competitors like Apple, Google, and Research in Motion were down 2.7% to 4.3%. It was just Wednesday that Standard & Poor’s upgraded Palm’s credit rating and stated a positive outlook for the company, though they noted that Palm was still sensitive to the state of the economy (which today’s numbers showed may not be in as good a shape as had been hoped).

Palm, however, is a unique stock. Much of the drive upwards this year has been fueled more by mindshare than marketshare, as sales numbers have shown. As The Motley Fool noted today, Palm is a scary stock; when the Pre was unveiled back in January it looked as if Palm were striking at the perfect time - a lull in the smartphone market - since then Apple has released a new iPhone, Research in Motion unveiled the Storm 2, and a slew of Android devices, including the impressive new Motorola Droid have been announced or hit shelves. It’s a crowded market and the Pre doesn’t stand out as much as it did six months ago, let alone the lesser spec’ed Pixi.

Things also likely weren’t helped by an editorial posted yesterday on Gizmodo, declaring that Palm had “lost” in the face of overwhelming Android adoption by multiple manufacturers and carriers. We have our quarrels with the posting, but we won’t be addressing them in this article (not enough space, you might say). Palm is in a weak position right now, so any bad news on popular sites will hit the stock hard, and as far as technology websites are concerned, it doesn’t get a whole lot more popular in the tech world than Gizmodo. Combine this with another bad quarter at still-exclusive US carrier Sprint and you’ve got a recipe for a bad stock day.

There is a silver lining to this big gray cloud, though admittedly there’s some tarnish to it. In fact, there are two. One: The lower stock price means that a takeover of Palm would cost less for a potential suitor (say, Nokia?). And two: If you wanted to get in on Palm but were worried that the stock wouldn’t come down enough for you to realize decent gains, well worry no longer. Though we suppose there’s a different worry to be had - when will the pain end?