If the world needed any more of a reminder about the crucial tone-setting role played by the Contemporary art auctions, here’s a chart of Sotheby’s stock before and after the Wednesday night sale. The $40 price level has been a significant landmark for Sotheby’s stock. Above $40, the price acts as fairly reliable floor. Below $40, it becomes a durable ceiling.
Given the recent resolution of Daniel Loeb’s activist challenge to the company, it seems likely there will have to be a significant event to act as catalyst to move above $40 again soon. The question is what Loeb will do strategically. Will Sotheby’s hire a name player (Jeffrey Deitch seemed quite at home there on Wednesday night) to lead the Contemporary art department? Will there be further management changes or will the next year be devoted to regrouping and finding a strategy that can materially alter Sotheby’s revenue and profit expectations?