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The Worst Performing Stocks in August

John Maxfield
August 31, 2013

A glance at the individual components of the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC) reveals that one sector in particular performed poorly throughout August. Of the 25 worst performing stocks this month, five of them are well known retail concerns, led by Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE: ANF). And the largest exchange-traded fund that tracks the sector, the SPDR S&P Retail (NYSEMKT: XRT), dropped by 6.1% compared with the S&P's decline of 4.1%.


Month to Date

Year to Date

Abercrombie & Fitch



Staples (NASDAQ: SPLS)



J.C. Penney (NYSE: JCP)










The month started on a high note, when the Commerce Department reported that the unemployment rate had fallen to the lowest level in more than four years. Things proceeded to turn south, however, with a series of disappointing reports out of the housing sector. And on Friday, the government capped off the month with data showing that consumer income and spending increased by only 0.1% in July, compared to an expectation of 0.3%.

Ironically, given the downbeat performance of retail stocks, the health of the consumer appears to be improving. In the first case, retail sales improved during July by 0.2%. And if you remove automobiles, gasolin