It was a rocky but ultimately ho-hum quarter kicking off 2016. The S&P 500 closed a little higher. The Nasdaq Composite closed a little lower. However, some stocks got really smacked around over the past three months.
Let's take a look at some of the stocks that burned investors this year and companies whose stocks were shaved by more than half during the first quarter.
Valeant Pharmaceuticals (NYSE:VRX) -- Down 74%
Every month of 2016 has been brutal for Valeant shareholders. Valeant Pharmaceuticals stock has surrendered 11%, 27%, and 60% through the first three months of the year, respectively. The losses and trading volume have accelerated with every passing month.
Valeant Pharmaceuticals was a market darling until peaking last summer, fueled by shrewd acquisitions of companies with promising drugs. Things began to fall apart late last year when an internal report unearthed potential accounting irregularities, but there's more to this year's downfall than that. Valeant Pharmaceuticals has come under fire for raising prices by outrageous sums, something that is now leading to government probes. The backlash is real, and Valeant has slashed its guidance for 2016 and its CEO has agreed to step down when a suitable replacement is found.
The ugly story keeps getting uglier. Moody's downgraded Valeant's credit rating on Thursday, again. That's a pretty big deal for a company that has used debt to finance deals in the past.
SolarCity (NASDAQ:SCTY.DL) -- Down 52%
The leading residential installer of solar energy solutions has proven mortal this year, proving that Elon Musk doesn't always have the Midas touch with his ventures. SolarCity's biggest hit came when it posted another rough quarter. Losses have plagued SolarCity all along, but top-line growth is now a concern.
SolarCity fell short of its initial guidance on installations and the promise of eventual profitability continues to be pushed further out into the future. The capital-intensive model -- where SolarCity lets buyers finance their residential and commercial installations -- has run into hiccups, and some states are making it harder, instead of easier, to justify going solar by effectively eating at the financial incentives that have been available.
Tableau Software (NYSE:DATA) -- Down 51%
The data analysis specialist may not like what it sees when it gnaws on its own stock's performance. Most of Tableau's plunge took place last month when it posted a rough quarterly report.
The past held up fine, but Tableau's guidance left a lot to be desired. It isn't faring as well with its high margin software licenses as it is with its service contracts. It's pretty bad. Analysts thought that Tableau would come through with a profit of $0.62 a share for all of 2016 when the quarter began, but now they're targeting net income of $0.34 a share for the year. If earnings forecasts are getting nearly cut in half, it's probably not hard to see the stock following suit.
Rick Munarriz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends SolarCity and Valeant Pharmaceuticals. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.