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Investors Take a Sobering View of the Makers of Jack Daniels Senior executives at Brown-Forman Corp. could probably use a shot after a tumultuous day in the stock market.

By Andrew Osterland

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Brown-Forman Corp., the maker of Jack Daniels, among other spirits and liquors, reported a 20 percent jump in earnings for its fiscal third quarter this morning. That beat analyst estimates but the company missed on sales because of a strong U.S. dollar and increasing tariffs levied against the company's products worldwide. The stock fell 5.11 percent, the biggest decline on the Entrepreneur Index™ today.

The reason for the revenue miss was what scared investors. "Retaliatory tariffs on American whiskey have created additional uncertainty around the company's near-term outlook," Brown-Forman said in a press release.

Whiskey is one of the favorite tariff targets for foreign governments in trade disputes with the U.S, and Brown-Forman is as sensitive to trade concerns as any stock in the market. The company estimated that its revenue was hit by a full percentage point last quarter as it lowered prices to offset higher tariff costs. The stock is up just 2.67 percent this year and is down 12.8 percent in the last twelve months.

Trade uncertainty was on the mind of the rest of the market too, as investors await the outcome of negotiations between China and the U.S. that are reportedly in their final stages. The question is whether a deal between the world's two biggest economies is already reflected in stock prices that have surged this year.

The Dow and S&P 500 indexes were down 0.52 percent and 0.65 percent respectively today and the Nasdaq Composite fell 0.93 percent. The Entrepreneur Index™ was down 0.75 percent with just eight of sixty stocks on the index posting gains on the day.

Dollar Tree Inc. had the biggest jump on the index today, rising 5.11 percent after it announced financial results this morning as well as plans to revamp the Family Dollar chain of stores it also operates. The company's financials were fine, beating earnings and revenue estimates, but investors really liked the restructuring idea. The company said it would close 390 Family Dollar outlets and renovate 1000 other locations. Dollar Tree has struggled to integrate the acquisition of roughly 8000 Family Dollar stores it acquired in 2015.

The only other stocks on the Entrepreneur Index™ to rise by more than one percent today were food-maker J.M. Smucker Company (1.3 percent), and tech stocks Netflix (1.5 percent) and Akamai Technologies (1.4 percent). The rest of the tech sector was weak with TripAdvisor Inc. (-3.19 percent) and NVIDIA Corp. (-2.86 percent) posting the biggest losses.

Oil and gas producer Hess Corp. fell sharply after inventories of U.S. crude oil increased by 7.1 million barrels last week versus estimates of a 2.1 million barrel increase. The price of oil fell by only 0.6 percent today, but shares in Hess were down 4.07 percent. The stock is still up 40.1 percent so far this year.

Other notable declines on the Entrepreneur Index™ included drug-makers Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (-3.07 percent) and Alexion Pharmaceuticals (-2.71 percent). Gap Inc. (-2.32 percent), clothing-maker Under Armour Inc. (-2.47 percent) and Universal Health Services (-3.21 percent) were also down sharply.

The Entrepreneur Index™ collects the top 60 publicly traded companies founded and run by entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurial spirit is a valuable asset for any business, and this index recognizes its importance, no matter how much a company has grown. These inspirational businesses can be tracked in real time on

Andrew Osterland is Special to Business writer, specializing in personal finance and taxes.

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