The worst stocks of 2015

An alarming number of big U.S. stocks lost half their value in 2015. The declines come despite the fact that a broader U.S. market ended the year not far from where it started.

What is sad is the worst stocks of 2015 include big-name companies like Macy’s, Michael Kors and gambling empire Wynn Resorts.

1) Chesapeake Energy, Southwestern Energy, Consul Energy

2015 performance: -77% to -80%

Cheap oil and gas have crushed profits in the energy industry. Oil prices have been clobbered this year, collapsing below $34 a barrel this week for the first time since early 2009. Natural gas prices too recently dropped to 2002 levels.
Shares of Chesapeake Energy (CHK) have plummeted 80% so far this year, making it the worst S&P 500 performer through Monday.

2) Freeport-McMoRan

2015 performance: -73%
Freeport-McMoRan (FCX) is the biggest U.S. miner so it’s poor performance makes sense given that copper and iron ore prices have plummeted to crisis levels. The company exacerbated the pain by doubling its commodity exposure in 2013 when it invested $9 billion in oil and gas assets.

That’s why Freeport’s shares have plummeted and the company was forced to slash spending and ditch its dividend.

3) Fossil Group

2015 performance: -70%

The clock can’t strike midnight on 2015 fast enough for Fossil Group (FOSL). The watch maker’s shares have plunged to five-year lows due to a number of major challenges, including new competition from wearables and smartwatches made by Apple (AAPL, Tech30) and others.
Fossil has also been impacted by the fizzling of the fashion-watch trend. That’s especially true for its big moneymaker, the line of Michael Kors branded watches.

4) NRG Energy

2015 performance: -62%
NRG Energy’s (NRG) $1 billion investment in wind and solar power failed to create the profits its former CEO David Crane had envisioned. After 12 years on the job, Crane stepped down earlier this month.
Like other independent power producers, NRG has also been hurt by cheap natural gas prices.

5) Micron/Seagate

2015 performance: -59%, -48%
Micron (MU) is really hurting from the drop in the price for memory chips. Micron makes chips that lets PC, smartphone and tablet users store data. That business has been hurt by tougher competition from Western Digital (WDC) and Intel (INTC, Tech30).

6) Wynn Resorts

2015 performance: -58%
Casino investors have been dealt an awful hand lately. Wynn Resorts (WYNN) shareholders have really felt the pinch. Wynn has been punished by a plunge in gambling revenue in Macau after the Chinese government cracked down on corruption in that gambling mecca. Steve Wynn, the company’s CEO and largest shareholder, is gung ho about the future of his company and recently doubled down by purchasing 1 million shares.

7) Staples

2015 performance: -48%
Half of the market value of Staples (SPLS) has been “erased” this year. This is because consumers continue to cut back on office supplies due to a decline in printing. People simply are doing more digital sharing and the need for general office supplies is way down. Sales have declined the past two years and its store footprint is shrinking. But Staples suffered a big blow this month when the U.S. government announced plans to block its acquisition of Office Depot (ODP). The plan had been to join forces to take on competition from Amazon (AMZN, Tech30) and Wal-Mart (WMT).
Staples and Office Depot have vowed to fight the government’s antitrust lawsuit, but it’s not clear they’ll win that fight.

8) Viacom

2015 performance: -48%
Fears about consumers cutting cords have rippled throughout the media industry this year. Nowhere is that more true than at Viacom (VIAB), which has suffered recent ratings trouble at MTV and Comedy Central.
Viacom has been hurt by a general decline in advertising for non-sports and non-live programming. The company posted a 7% fall in domestic ad sales last quarter. There’s also considerable uncertainty over the future of Sumner Redstone, the 92-year-old Viacom chairman. Manuela Herzer, Redstone’s ex-girlfriend, has argued in court that the media mogul is a “living ghost” who is practically unable to make decisions for himself.

9) Macy’s

2015 performance: -47% (each)
The unseasonably warm weather and even warmer U.S. dollar have caused real problems for Macy’s (M). The department store chain blamed its poor November sales on the weather. It also warned that there are fewer foreign tourists because of the strength in the U.S. dollar.
Michael Kors (KORS) has been in free fall since early 2014 amid pressure from Kate Spade (KATE) and others. Prices at Kors have been dropping — something that’s never good for profits — due to heavy markdowns and a switch to smaller bags.
Of course, they aren’t the only two struggling retail stocks. The biggest S&P 500 losers this year include Ralph Lauren (RL) and Gap (GPS), whose Banana Republic brand continues to get crushed by fast fashion.

10) Tenet Healthcare

2015 performance: 44%
Just like the company’s former director, Jeb Bush, 2015 hasn’t been a year to remember for Tenet Healthcare (THC). The hospital operator’s stock price has tumbled due to declines in hospital patient volumes, after experiencing an increase in 2014 from Obamacare. Tenet has also raised concerns by racking up nearly $15 billion of debt, partially from a pair of major acquisitions.

You May Also Like