The market's hitting new highs these days, but not every stock is going along for the ride. There were 465 stocks on the three major U.S. stock exchanges reaching new 52-week lows last week, and some of the names are worthy of a double take. 

China Mobile (NYSE:CHL), Tilray (NASDAQ:TLRY), and SmileDirectClub (NASDAQ:SDC) are among the hundreds of stocks trading at their lowest levels of the year. Let's take a closer look at all three to see where they went wrong in the eyes of investors. 

A woman putting on her SmileDirectClub dental aligner.

Image source: SmileDirectClub.

China Mobile

Unlike the U.S. market, where the two leading wireless carriers are neck-and-neck for the lead, there's no disputing who the top dog is in the world's most populous market. China Mobile serves 935 million mobile customers, roughly three times more accounts than its closest competitor. 

The mobile revolution in China might seem like a slam dunk. China's economy may be slowing these days, but it's still growing at a headier clip than other developed countries. There's also its widening middle class, and a no-brainer migration to mobile since many never had to wean themselves from a home computer. Despite all of these theoretical tailwinds, China Mobile has been a slow grower. You have to go all the way back to 2012 to find the last year that China Mobile has delivered double-digit revenue growth in a year, and the top line has actually been inching slightly lower since last year. 

China Mobile's mid-year report points out how intensifying competition within the telco industry as well as cross-sector players is weighing on its growth. The operating environment has also gotten a bit more challenging with speed upgrades and tariff reductions part of the national policy. The good news here is that China Mobile remains the clear leader in this important industry, and patient investors are being rewarded with a nearly 5% yield. 


Marijuana stocks were all the rage in 2018, and Tilray was one of the biggest beneficiaries. The Canadian cannabis cultivator went public at $17 last summer, trading as high as $300 two months later. It has now fallen nearly all the way back down to where it all started. 

Tilray is still posting monster top-line growth, but there are some signs that concerned investors in last week's financial update. Sequential growth in adult-use recreational marijuana rose just 5% since the second quarter. Hemp product sales actually declined sequentially in the third quarter. Tilray is still growing briskly internationally, but with losses mounting and cash levels dwindling, investors are bracing for the inevitability of a dilutive secondary offering taking place at a price far below where things were a year ago.


One of the biggest losers of the 2019 IPO class is SmileDirectClub, which was already a broken debutante before posting poorly received financials in its first quarterly report as a public company last week. The stock that hit the market at $23 a little more than two months ago has plummeted to the single digits.

SmileDirectClub offers clear dental aligners at a discount to the traditional orthodontist route, and the 51% top-line growth that it posted in last week's third-quarter report is a testament to its popularity. The problem here is that many Wall Street pros were expecting headier growth. It also doesn't help that SmileDirectClub's guidance calling for $750 million to $755 million for all of 2019 translates into a weaker-than-expected showing for the current quarter. There are naturally big risks to consider when investing in IPOs, but sometimes it's better to wait until after its first quarter as a public company to make sure that it's the real deal.

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.