Following the post-recession boom, high-fliers are among the market's worst-performing stocks this year. And while boring stocks have lagged in the past, they're delivering market-beating returns in 2016. Is there still time to buy this year's winners? Are there any losers worth picking up on sale? Here are some winning and losing stocks to consider for your portfolio.
Winners with room to climb
Retail stores, pet food, and pipelines are among the best-performing large-cap companies this year, and while Macy's (NYSE:M), Blue Buffalo Pet Products (NASDAQ: BUFF), and Kinder Morgan (NYSE:KMI) have made tremendous gains already in 2016, there are still reasons why investors can still buy them.
Tried-and-true retailing giant Macy's, for example, is in the midst of a turnaround that could put it on track for a multiyear profit expansion.
Last year, Macy's earnings per share nosedived 14% to $3.77, prompting management to outline a plan to shutter 36 of its 770 stores this spring. Those closures will crimp sales this year, but it should help turn the tide on earnings in 2017. If so, Macy's may be a bargain. Despite a 24% jump in its shares this year, its stock price remains about 30% lower than a year ago and that means shares are still trading at only about 11 times forward earnings estimates.
Blue Buffalo Pet Products may not be as big of a bargain as Macy's, but pets need to eat, and pet owners are increasingly paying attention to what they feed them.
As a result, Blue Buffalo Pet Products reports sales grew 11.4% year over year to $265 million in the fourth quarter, and that its full-year sales improved 12% to $1.03 billion.
Yes, its shares have shot 28% higher in 2016, but with the company beating industry watcher's estimates in each of two quarters it's been publicly traded, a settlement in December putting a class action lawsuit behind it, and sales and profit guidance for growth this year, Blue Buffalo may still have more room to run.
Kinder Morgan, one of the nation's biggest operators of oil and gas pipelines, could similarly have gas left in its tank.
Falling crude oil and natural gas prices caused Kinder Morgan's shares to take it on the chin last year, but oil and gas demand is still keeping the company's pipelines flowing. Also, management's decision to cut its dividend to reduce debt has drawn widespread support among investors, including Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway gobbled up $400 worth of Kinder Morgan stock in the fourth quarter.
Losers with long-term potential
Flip the script and we find some of this year's worst-performing stocks that may also be worth picking up in portfolios.
Biotech stocks were all the rage in 2013 and 2014, but price scrutiny has resulted in most of them losing ground this year. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:REGN), the maker of a multibillion-dollar per year vision-restoring drug and a recently launched cholesterol-busting medicine, is among the worst of these biotech losers. Despite the company being one of biotech's top performers in the past, its shares have fallen 33% this year.
Although Regeneron Pharmaceuticals' still boasts a lofty P/E ratio, its Eylea is used to treat age-related macular degeneration, and with 10,000 baby boomers turning 65 daily, demand for this drug isn't likely to soften anytime soon. The company could also begin generating meaningful sales for Praluent, its cholesterol-fighting drug, in the next year or two. Studies are ongoing that could show that Praluent reduces the risk of cardiac events or death. Additionally, Regeneron's pipeline includes a promising rheumatoid arthritis drug that just bested the multibillion Humira in late-stage trials. A Food and Drug Administration decision is expected on this drug later this year, and if approved, that could help spark sales and profit growth.
Another former high-flying stock that's stumbled but might be worth buying is LinkedIn Corporation (NYSE:LNKD.DL), the go-to social network for professionals. LinkedIn's shares have tumbled 51% since the end of December over worries of slowing growth, and lackluster guidance has further fueled investor pessimism. Management expects earnings per share of between $3.05 to $3.20 in 2016, but industry watchers were hoping for $3.67.
Though LinkedIn's guidance is disappointing, the company has a history of sandbagging forecasts only to overdeliver when it reports results. It has beaten industry watchers' forecasts in each of the past four quarters, including a 20% beat in Q4.
Given that LinkedIn is the de facto networking platform for professionals, its results should benefit in both good and bad job markets. Therefore, acquiring some shares when it's out of favor could pay off down the road.
Tying it together
Chasing current trends isn't the best way to invest for the long haul. Instead, investors should look years out when considering whether to invest in a particular stock. Given that backdrop, a compelling argument can be made to buy Macy's, Blue Buffalo, Kinder Morgan, Regeneron, and LinkedIn. Although all five of these stocks could struggle over the short term, each could be much higher 10 years from now than they are today.