As the market reaches its most choppy period in the past few months, it is worth a look at which stocks have done the best so far in 2012 and which have done the worst. Sometimes stocks that are “overbought” or “oversold” make price moves in the direction opposite than the one they have taken recently. In the case of these winners and losers, that is not likely. The reasons for their movements are long lasting.
Leading the stocks that have risen the most this year are two home builders that have benefited from what has been viewed recently as the first improvement in the housing market since 2007. Shares in Pulte Group Inc. (NYSE: PHM) are up 174% year to date. Shares in Lennar Corp. (NYSE: LEN) are up 92%. Also high on the list is one special situation. Sprint-Nextel Corp. (NYSE: S) are up 141% on the heels of a partial buyout by SoftBank. Additionally, there is one “dead cat bounce” stock on the list. Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC) shares, which seemed ready to move to zero because of the financial firm’s multiple problems, rose 68%.
Poor management and the slow destruction of the personal computer industry cut the prices of two widely traded stocks. The share price of Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) has dropped 45%. New CEO Meg Whitman said it will take years to completely turn around the Silicon Valley icon. Dell Inc. (NASDAQ: DELL), a much less iconic company, has suffered a stock drop of stock 35%.
The stock most damaged by PC trouble is number two chip company Advance Micro Devices Inc. (NYSE: AMD), which recently reported poor numbers and laid of 15% of its workers. Its shares are down more than 60%.
There is one special situation stock on the list of company shares that have fallen this year. Apollo Group (NASDAQ: APOL) shares are down 63% due to government pressure on firms in the for-profit education industry.
Douglas A. McIntyre