10 Companies That Tumbled in 2012

US News

It's been a surprisingly good year for stocks--surprising because it wasn't terrible.

[ENJOY: Political Cartoons on the Economy]

A lot of things nearly went wrong in 2012. The U.S. economy bumbled along, with the political showdown over the "fiscal cliff" slowing growth and even threatening a recession. Europe sank deeper into the doldrums, China slowed more than expected, and hotspots like Iran continued to darken the outlook.

Most companies managed to steer around the potholes, with the overall stock market up by about 12 percent as of early December. But at some companies, the wheels came off. To identify the biggest losers, I asked S&P Capital IQ to rank the 1,500 largest public U.S. companies according to their year-to-date stock appreciation. From the worst performers, I selected companies known to most consumers whose struggles reflect broader trends in the U.S. economy. Here are 10 companies that tumbled in 2012:

Supervalu (stock price down 67 percent). This grocery conglomerate, which includes chains such as Albertson's and Save-a-Lot, has been losing sales for three straight years as discounters like Wal-Mart and Target grab an increasing share of the food business. Private-equity firms and other investors are likely to buy parts of the company in a split-up that's been anticipated for a while.

ITT Educational Services (down 66 percent). For-profit colleges such as those operated by ITT in 39 states once seemed like a clever idea, but the industry is getting hammered as the government scrutinizes its graduation rates and business practices, and traditional schools begin to offer online programs and other options. Other education companies posting big drops in their stock price this year include Apollo Group (which operates the University of Phoenix), Career Education Corp. and Strayer.

[RELATED: 10 Companies That Dazzled in 2012]

Diamond Foods (down 57 percent). This snack food company was growing rapidly until auditors discovered accounting irregularities that forced a restatement of earnings and led to the departure of the CEO and CFO. It's still recovering from the damage.

Alpha Natural Resources (down 56 percent). The flip side of a boom in domestic natural gas and oil production is a decline in coal production, which has crushed shares of this mining company. Alpha also faces ongoing litigation related to Massey Energy--which operated the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia where 29 miners died in a 2010 explosion--which Alpha acquired in 2011.

Advanced Micro Devices (down 56 percent). Heard of the iPad? The surging popularity of tablet computers and other mobile devices is zapping sales of traditional PCs, which AMD makes processors for. Some analysts worry that AMD's falling sales could even lead to a cash crunch at the company sometime in 2013.

AK Steel (down 48 percent). A global slowdown--especially in China--has pushed down both steel prices and sales. AK Steel also has major pension liabilities that tie up a lot of cash. The company could rebound, though, once the global economy picks up.

[READ: Why It's a Bad Time to Be Rich]

Best Buy (down 48 percent). This electronics retailer has become a "glorified showroom for Amazon," according to Harvard Business Review, which means shoppers come to check out the merchandise, then order online when they find cheaper prices. The company is revamping its network of 1,400 stores, but may not be able to move fast enough to keep up with the migration of shoppers to other outlets.

Tempur-Pedic (down 47 percent). Mattress sales are soft, and competitors peddling new foam products have been taking market share from Tempur-Pedic's specialized--and pricy--mattresses. The company recently announced plans to acquire competitor Sealy, to boost its market power.

Hewlett-Packard (down 45 percent). This storied technology company has reinvented itself many times, but its dependence on PCs and printers now seems out-of-date as consumers shift to slimmer mobile devices and the cloud. Meanwhile, a spate of acquisitions over the last several years seem to have done little for H-P, while costing it billions.

JC Penney (down 44 percent). This century-old retailer is in the midst of an aggressive makeover led by former Apple hotshot Ron Johnson, who became CEO last year. But so far, Penney's efforts to ditch its frugal image, make its stores more hip and "retrain the customer," as Johnson says, have turned off more shoppers than they've attracted.

Rick Newman is the author of Rebounders: How Winners Pivot From Setback to Success. Follow him on Twitter: @rickjnewman.



More From US News & World Report

Rates

View Comments (28)

Recommended for You

  • Tycoon buys 30 Rolls-Royces for Macau hotel

    A Hong Kong tycoon has placed the biggest ever order for Rolls-Royce cars, agreeing to buy 30 Phantoms to chauffeur guests at a luxury resort he's building in the global gambling capital of Macau. Stephen Hung's $20 million purchase surpasses the 14 Phantoms bought by Hong Kong's Peninsula Hotel in…

    Associated Press
  • 1 Tip To Lose Belly Fat

    It's Hollywood's Hottest Diet And Gets Rid Of Stubborn Fat Areas Like Nothing Else.

    AdChoicesagoodcooksSponsored
  • Tycoon's arrest sends shock wave through Russia

    Tycoon's arrest sends shock wave through Russia MOSCOW (AP) — The arrest of a Russian telecoms and oil tycoon has sent shock waves through the country's business community, with some fearing a return to the dark days of a decade ago, when the Kremlin asserted its power by imprisoning the country's…

    Associated Press
  • Before You Buy Alibaba, Check Out 4 Top China Stocks

    Before You Buy Alibaba, Check Out 4 Top China Stocks While investors gear up for Alibaba Group 's (BABA) hotly anticipated initial public offering, don't forget about other Chinese stocks that are worth keeping an eye on. Today's Young Guns Screen of

    Investor's Business Daily
  • As Fed takes baby steps, Cramer's trick for profit

    In turn, Cramer says making money in the market, involves looking at the environment through the lens of the Fed. "The trick is to remember that they speak for the common person," Cramer said. "The Fed wants the common person to make money." With that backdrop always in mind, Cramer says it becomes…

    CNBC
  • "The Retiree Next Door": How successful retirees stretch their savings

    "The Retiree Next Door": How successful retirees stretch their savingsBy the time she hit her late 40s, Toni Eugenia wasn’t sure she would ever be able to retire. Eugenia, 56, a pharmacy technician who lived in Houston, was nearly $200,000 in debt and

    Yahoo Finance
  • Costco Stores in Canada to Stop Taking American Express

    “The credit card relationship between American Express and Costco Wholesale Canada will not be renewed when it expires” on Dec. 31, the company said today in an e-mail to Canadian customers. The message was attributed to Lorelle Gilpin, vice president of marketing and membership for Costco…

    Bloomberg
  • CNBC Anchor Calls Out Fed-Hater Bill Fleckenstein In Startling Shouting Match

    CNBC Bill Fleckenstein of Fleckenstein Capital appeared on CNBC's Futures Now program on Tuesday. Futures Now host Jackie DeAngelis came out swinging, asking Fleckenstein right at the top if he was willing to admit that he had misunderstood monetary policy. Sounding taken aback, Fleckenstein…

    Business Insider
  • Norwich Information Security MS

    Online, accredited, top ranked. NSA Center of Academic Excellence. Recognized by the Department of Homeland Security. Download your free brochure!

    AdChoicesNorwich UniversitySponsored
  • Beanie Babies creator's sentence debated in court

    Beanie Babies creator's sentence debated in court CHICAGO (AP) — Federal prosecutors seeking to put the billionaire creator of Beanie Babies in prison for hiding millions in Swiss bank accounts told appellate court judges Wednesday that the toymaker's sentence of probation threatens to erode the…

    Associated Press
  • Play

    Citi, Bank of America Offer Discounted Mortgages

    Citigroup and Bank of America will offer mortgages at discounted interest rates to help borrowers with low incomes or subprime credit. AnnaMaria Andriotis joins MoneyBeat. Photo: Getty.

    WSJ Live
  • Apple to unveil new iPads, operating system on Oct. 21 : report

    The company plans to unveil the sixth generation of its iPad and the third edition of the iPad mini, as well as its operating system OS X Yosemite, which has undergone a complete visual overhaul, the Internet news website said. Trudy Muller, a spokeswoman for Apple, declined to comment. The iPad is…

    Reuters
  • Gilead Stock Is Falling On These Drug Setbacks

    Gilead Stock Is Falling On These Drug Setbacks Gilead Sciences (GILD) shares are backsliding Wednesday on news that the patient drop-out rate for hepatitis C drug Sovaldi is quadruple that of clinical trials. In addition, the biotech's Phase 2 study results

    Investor's Business Daily
  • Don't care about Alibaba? Here's why it may matter

    When the Alibaba Group Holding prices its initial public offering Thursday, small businesses in particular will be watching. Founder Jack Ma -the former English-teacher-turned-dot-com billionaire-has touted his e-commerce platform as a way for smaller merchants to expand their international…

    CNBC
  • Here's What Mark Cuban Wishes He Knew About Money In His 20s

    Cuban is the owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team. Billionaire investor and entrepreneur Mark Cuban is generous with his advice. When we asked him what he wishes he'd known about money in his 20s, he said:

    Business Insider
  • Wondering How You Could Save on Home Insurance?

    Get a quote from Farmers Insurance and discover how you could save. Speak with an agent to get the knowledge you need to make an informed decision.

    AdChoicesFarmers InsuranceSponsored
  • Margaritaville casino owners seek bankruptcy

    The owner of Biloxi's Margaritaville casino has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Tuesday, only hours before a hearing where the landlord aimed to seize the property. The filing by MVB Holding LLC in U.S. Don Dornan, a lawyer for landlord Clay Point LLC, said the company had planned to ask…

    Associated Press
  • Embraer to sell 50 E-175 jets to Republic in $2.1 billion deal

    Brazil's Embraer SA, the world's third largest commercial planemaker, said on Wednesday it booked a firm order from U.S. The deal, which will be included in Embraer's order book for the third quarter, is valued at $2.1 billion, the planemaker said in a securities filing. The planes will be operated…

    Reuters
  • SHOE COMPANY: Our CEO Just Disappeared And Most Of The Money Is Gone

    "and like that: he's gone." This is an actual headline from a company press release: "CEO and COO disappeared, most of the company's cash missing." (Via FastFT) In a statement, German-based shoe company Ultrasonic said its CFO,  Chi Kwong Clifford Chan, has been unable to reach the company's CEO,…

    Business Insider
  • Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: AEP, BHP, GE, Incyte, 3M, Tyco, Under Armour and More

    Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: AEP, BHP, GE, Incyte, 3M, Tyco, Under Armour and More Stocks were firm on Wednesday morning ahead of the FOMC meeting outcome. Tuesday’s rally may have sparked higher interest again, and investors are looking for bargains

    24/7 Wall St.
  • Play

    Tues., Sept. 16: Watch Humana Stock

    Humana, Global X Social Media Index ETF and Majesco Entertainment are among stocks to watch. WSJ's Chris Dieterich discusses the details with Michael Casey. Photo: Humana

    WSJ Live
  • Billionaire Investor Says Chinese People Work Harder And Western Companies Could Face Deep Trouble After Alibaba IPO

    Michael Moritz, the chairman of VC firm Sequoia Capital, is a huge fan of Chinese internet companies and reiterated his enthusiasm for the Chinese market in an interview with The Wall Street Journal Wednesday. The billionaire investor described the Alibaba IPO as a “major landmark event” that is as…

    Business Insider
  • Tired of Living Paycheck to Paycheck?

    New website reveals how to save $1,000's when you're living paycheck to paycheck. See exactly how.

    AdChoices Media ForceSponsored
  • Don't buy Alibaba stock: 'Dean of Valuation'

    Investors should steer clear of Alibaba , valuation expert Aswath Damodaran said Wednesday. On CNBC's " Fast Money ," Damodaran, a professor of finance at New York University's Stern School of Business, noted that he was looking at Alibaba stock from the perspective of a long-term investor, not a…

    CNBC