After several weeks when the 52-week highs were outnumbering the 52-week lows, we've fallen to the point where there were more losers than winners last week. More than 950 stocks on the three major stateside stock exchanges hit fresh lows last week. 

Jumia (NYSE:JMIA), iRobot (NASDAQ:IRBT), and Dave & Buster's (NASDAQ:PLAY) are some of the more notable names checking in with 52-week lows. Let's see what took these three former market darlings from the penthouse to the doghouse.

The Million-Dollar Arcade at Dave & Buster's with the ticket-redemption store just behind the games.

Image source: Dave & Buster's.


Africa's leading online marketplace operator hit another all-time low on Friday, but that may not be saying much, since the stock has only been trading publicly for four months. Things seemed promising when Jumia more than tripled in its first few days of of trading after going public at $14.50 in early April. The initial gains seemed to be warranted a few weeks later, when it delivered well-received financials in its first-quarter report.

Sentiment would sour in May, after noted worrywart Citron Research accused Jumia of committing fraud, arguing that its auditor should resign and the SEC investigate the matter. Class action lawsuits have been raining down on Jumia ever since. Investors have been staying away given the uncertainty, and it also doesn't help that the e-commerce opportunity in Africa is still several years away from going mainstream. Less than $1 billion in gross merchandise volume was transacted through Jumia last year, and less than 1% of Africa's sales are currently taking place online. Even online transactions are often settled in person with cash.

It will take time for this story to play out, but investors won't have to wait long to hear from Jumia. It reports second-quarter results on Aug. 21. 


There was a time when it seemed as if iRobot would take over the world. Between its military robotics that sniffed out explosives and kept humans out of harm's way, and its signature Roomba automatons that kept your floors clean, iRobot was a market darling. It sold its military division, but it's making life easier for folks around the home, with a growing line of Roomba robotic vacuum cleaners and Braava floor-mopping robots. 

The stock slumped last month after iRobot posted mixed financial results. iRobot also hosed down its full-year guidance on tariff concerns, and that's the kind of stuff that worries the market in the near term until iRobot puts out robotic investors.

The silver lining is that revenue is still checking in with double-digit growth both here and internationally. It's also still on track to introduce Terra, its first robotic lawn mower, later this year. 

Dave & Buster's 

The chain of massive entertainment centers that combine high-end casual dining and the latest in arcade gaming was once the toast of the town. Its "eatertainment" destinations were high-volume behemoths, and it seemed as if Dave & Buster's couldn't expand quickly enough. But it's been feeling mortal these days. Comps turned negative last year, and after briefly poking its head into positive territory in March, we saw the chain's same-restaurant sales go back into the red last time out.  

It's been struggling to get back on track after last quarter's rare bottom-line miss. Even after initiating a dividend policy last summer that amounts to a current yield of 1.5%, and authorizing $200 million in share buybacks last month, investors haven't been wooed. If the chain is meandering now when the economy's somewhat humming along, it's easy to fear what will happen if disposable income becomes less disposable. 

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.