It's been a wild year in the markets. Between August and November, the Dow Jones
However, as the year closes, optimism has returned. After rallying throughout the latter half of October and overcoming a late November plunge, the Dow has returned 5.6% for the year, significantly outpacing other indexes like the small-cap oriented Russell 2000.
However, while blue-chip stocks in general have done very well, not every stock on the Dow is closing out 2011 in a celebratory mood. Following are the 10 worst-performing Dow stocks on the year.
Percent Return (Year to Date)
Bank of America
Source: S&P Capital IQ. Returns are not adjusted for dividends.
Here's a quick rundown of some common themes.
Banking on the edge
First, banking stunk, which shouldn't surprise many investors. The major fear is that sovereign-debt defaults in Europe could unleash a wave of failures across the banking system, bringing the world's financial system once again to its knees. Those fears have overridden positives like wide interest-rate spreads. For banking, the picture doesn't look much better in 2012.
Big losers in technology
Hewlett-Packard, Cisco, and Microsoft all make the list of worst performers. As evidenced by the Nasdaq's underperformance relative to the Dow in 2011, it's not surprising to see some technology companies near the bottom of the Dow. However, it's also worth noting that IBM was among the Dow's top performers this year and Intel was an index top-10 performer as well. More to the point, Apple
The point? Blue-chip technology companies didn't take it on the chin as much as this list might indicate. The problem with companies like HP and Cisco has been poor execution and mismanagement that led them into ill-conceived new product categories.
A tough time in industrials
One final area to look at is companies with industrial end-markets seeing their share prices hurt. Alcoa continues seeing difficult aluminum pricing conditions, while DuPont and 3M have been hurt by perceived weakness in their industrial end-markets.
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