Stocks 1

Many Middle Tennessee-based stocks tumbled more than 10 percent Monday amid a broad rout stoked by an oil price war and fears over the spread of COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus.

Entering the last half hour of regular trading Monday, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index — which was briefly halted in the morning — was down 6.8 percent on the day. But the following locals were among those off more than double that number:

• Oil refiner and marketer Delek US Holdings, which was down 27 percent

• Community Health Systems, which was down 22 percent

• Tivity Health, which was down about 19 percent

• Pinnacle Financial Partners, which was off more than 18 percent from Friday

• Ryman Hospitality Properties, which investors pushed down 14 percent as executives said their business outlook has become very cloudy.

As always, though, the headline numbers masked big disparities between companies, even in the small local sample of about 40 stocks. Juxtaposed with the names mentioned above, it’s worth pointing out that two locals, Dollar General and Cumberland Pharmaceuticals, were actually up more than 1 percent on the day.

Still, it’s clear that investors for now view two sectors well represented in the Nashville area — health care and banking — as being very susceptible to a relatively sudden deterioration in economic conditions. In addition to Pinnacle, local lenders CapStar, FB Financial and Reliant Bancorp all were down 8 percent or more.

A number of market watchers over the weekend pointed out that a broad economic slowdown or an outright recession could especially hurt highly levered companies. CHS, which has a stockholders' deficit, and Tivity — where debt stood at more than five times equity at year-end 2019 — definitely fit that description. Bloomberg reported on the prospects of companies with weak balance sheets on Monday afternoon.

This post originally appeared in our sister publication, the Nashville Post

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