Why These 3 Stocks Stumbled in 2013

With only a few days left in the year, it's a good time for investors to reflect on the stocks they own and decide whether their performance has met expectations. Let's look at three companies that are eager to close the books on 2013 and see what made it such a rough year for them.

Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS  )

Barnes & Noble continues to struggle with its evolution from a printed-book retailer to its place in our digital world. When the company revealed hefty losses in June for its Nook segment, shares sank 17%. CEO William Lynch resigned the following month after his efforts to boost the company's digital business disappointed. The stock sank even further after the one-two punch of another quarter of losses and the news that Leonard Riggio -- Barnes & Noble's chairman and largest shareholder -- retracted his offer to buy the company's brick-and-mortar stores. Since then, investors have become concerned about Riggio selling more than $27 million of his stock. In the most recent quarter, B&N saw a nearly 5% decline in same-store sales and its important Nook segment's revenue plummeted 32%. The stock is down 1% so far this year. 

Newmont Mining (NYSE: NEM)

As investors have fled gold  on Federal Reserve taper expectations, Newmont Mining has been hammered. Gold prices have tumbled more than 25% this year . The metal is currently trading around $1,210 an ounce , down from all-time highs above $1,900 in 2011 . That's been terrible news for Newmont , one of the world's largest gold miners . Shares have fallen nearly 48% year-to-date. The miner produced nearly 1.3 million ounces of gold in the first nine months of 2013 . Yet, average realized gold prices for Newmont are down 20% from the prior year quarter . During the second quarter, the Colorado-based company  also reported a $2 billion loss, citing a writedown due to plunging gold and copper prices . Earnings recovered in the third quarter, when improved production and stable operating costs offset the decline in gold and copper pricing.

J.C. Penney (NYSE: JCP  )

The distressed retailer is trying to recover from former CEO Ron Johnson and his failed "everyday low prices" strategy that drove away longtime loyal customers. But it's been a long and winding road. Early in the year, J.C. Penney's reported a 25% drop in same-store sales for 2012. Penney's got rid of Johnson in April, who had been brought on as CEO less than two years earlier, and replaced him with his predecessor, Mike Ullman. Even though Ullman has been trying to navigate the department store chain back to its coupon-and-promotion roots , the retailer still struggles. Activist investor Bill Ackman folded, leaving the company's board in August and selling his shares for a $500 million loss. Shares are down 55% so far this year. And that's after an awful 2012, when the stock plunged more than 40%. 

Better luck next year
If you didn't own these stocks in 2013, thank your lucky stars. If, instead, you're still holding on to any of these stocks, strongly consider cutting your losses and making 2014 a better investing year.

Get it right in 2014
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