Special Report

20 Companies That Turned Their Fortunes Around in 2017

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1. General Motors Co.
> Current stock price: $41.23
> Latest annual revenue: $166.4 billion
> Industry: Automotive

America’s biggest car maker is drawing on strong sales of crossovers in the United States and overall strengthening sales in China. With CEO Mary Barra at the helm, General Motors is shifting into ride sharing, autonomous-driving technology, and electric vehicles. GM’s third-quarter results beat analysts’ expectations. The Dearborn, Michigan company posted adjusted earnings per share of $1.32 compared with analysts expectation of $1.12, according to Thomson Reuters. GM reported revenue of $166.4 billion in 2016 and analysts expect revenue to decline to $145.49 billion in 2017. GM’s stock climbed 66% to a 2017-high of $45.88 on Oct. 9 from its Feb. 8, 2016 trough of $27.71. GM posted earnings per share in 2016 of $6.12 and analysts expect 2017 EPS to be $6.30. Analysts at RBC Capital and Guggenheim have upgraded GM to outperform and buy since late November.

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2. The Kroger Co.
> Current stock price: $27.56
> Latest annual revenue: $115.3 billion
> Industry: Supermarkets

Shares of Kroger plunged to $22.29 on June 12 but rallied 27% to a recent high of $28.25. Revenue has increased in each of the previous five years and reached $115.3 billion in fiscal year 2016 and are forecast to rise to $122.17 billion in fiscal 2017. Earnings per share results have either met or exceeded expectations in each of the last four quarters. The Cincinnati, Ohio-based grocery chain is trying to gain market share in an industry known for its razor-thin margins against goliaths Amazon — which agreed to buy Whole Foods in June — and sector leader Walmart. Kroger is seeking to boost market share by expanding its store number, introducing new items, emphasizing orders online, stressing its pick-up-in-store program, and rolling out standalone restaurants. Kroger opened the first of the rustic-styled restaurants in November.

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3. Advanced Micro Devices Inc.
> Current stock price: $8.77
> Latest annual revenue: $4.27 billion
> Industry: Technology

After languishing under $2 in February 2016, shares of Advanced Micro Devices rallied more than sevenfold to $14.55 on March 27. Earnings per share have topped expectations in each of the recent four quarters. CEO Lisa Su took over Advanced Micro Devices in 2014 and focused the Sunnyvale, California-based technology company on more promising business areas such as gaming, datacenter, and high performance graphics segments, and away from slower-growth areas such as personal computers. Intel and Advanced Micro Devices recently announced they are partnering to produce a laptop computer chip that uses an Intel processor and an Advanced Micro Devices graphics division to take on rival Nvidia. Analysts forecast sales to rise to $5.25 billion this year from $4.27 billion in 2016. Advanced Micro Devices posted a loss in 2016 of 14 cents a share, but is expected to swing to a profit of 13 cents in 2017, according to analyst expectations.

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4. The New York Times Company
> Current stock price: $18.63
> Latest annual revenue: $1.56 billion
> Industry: Media

There hasn’t been much to cheer about in the publishing world lately, but the stock of the parent of The New York Times has nearly doubled in price after tumbling to a trough of $10.95 per share on Oct. 31, 2016. Online subscriptions to the New York City, New York-based newspaper have surged, buoyed by the so-called “Trump Bump.” CEO Mark Thompson said in a conference call with analysts and the media that the company added 105,000 online subscriptions in the most recent quarter. He added that the Times has 3.5 million total paid subscriptions, “by far the most in our history.” Analysts who follow the company forecast earnings to rise to 72 cents a share in 2017 from 57 cents in 2016, and revenue to edge up to $1.66 billion from $1.56 billion in 2016.

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5. Gap Inc.
> Current stock price: $28.53
> Latest annual revenue: $15.5 billion
> Industry: Retail

Retailer industry observers have counted out the Gap before, but the casual attire retailer keeps coming back. Rising revenue and climbing comparable-store sales at its Old Navy division have lifted shares of San Francisco, California-based Gap Inc. as investors believe CEO Art Peck’s comeback plan is working. The company is investing in technology, marketing, and on-trend styles such as athletic apparel. Gap said in September that it will close about 200 Gap and Banana Republic stores in the next three years and open about 270 Old Navy and Athleta stores during the same period. After tumbling to $17.62 per share, the stock has nearly doubled to $34.55 a share earlier this year. Analysts predict sales to rise to $15.7 billion in the current fiscal year from $15.5 billion last year, with earnings per share increasing to $2.10 from $2.02.

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