The Best and Worst Performing Stocks of 2015

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It has been a zigzagging year so far for the major indexes, and it looks like we are about to embark on another major zag. As things stand now, the S&P is about even year to date, as is the Dow, with the Nasdaq eking out a 5% gain as of last week’s close.

So index buyers so far in 2015 are about even, but that does not mean that there haven’t been some serious gainers and losers thus far. Here is a quick look of the five biggest gainers and losers on the major exchanges since January 1.

The Worst

Apollo Education Group

Apollo Education Group Inc. (NASDAQ: APOL) has had a miserable year, with shares down 62% so far. Most of the drop was concentrated in two trading days — January 8 and March 25 — after consecutive disappointing quarterly earnings. Concern focused on falling enrollment in its for-profit schools, blamed on increased criticism from government regulators.

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Zulily

The online retailer that targets moms and their kids with special deal offers only went public in late 2013, and it has not been doing well since then. Zulily Inc. (NASDAQ: ZU) shares are down 47% on the year, most of that on one day in February when both revenues and earnings missed by a long-shot. After opening the year at $23.40, the stock plunged to as low as $9.09 before recovering a bit. We are now at $12.40, with Zulily treading water.

Micron Technologies

Demand for personal computers (PCs) keeps falling, and Micron Technologies Inc.’s (NASDAQ: MU) earnings and guidance issued late last month were worse than the most pessimistic of estimates. Shares had fallen 32% before then, but the final drubbing on June 25 brought shares down another 18% for a year-to-date loss of over 45%. If it had a dividend, it may be worth picking up on the cheap for an income investment at a price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of only 6.3, but for now it continues to be a falling knife in a pantry of very loose cutlery.