Special Report

20 Companies That Turned Their Fortunes Around in 2017

Source: BigTunaOnline / Shutterstock.com

16. Sony Corp.
> Current stock price: $45.14
> Latest annual revenue: $72.9 billion
> Industry: Technology

Japanese consumer electronics giant Sony, once famous for transistor radios and the Walkman portable cassette player, lost business to smaller, nimbler rivals from South Korea and Taiwan over the last decade. Sony brought in Kazuo Hirai to turn around the company in 2012. His “One Sony” plan focused on the three areas where he wanted the company to be a leader: digital imaging, gaming, and mobile. Sony has been laying off workers and selling certain assets such as the Vaio laptop business, but Hirai refused to sell its television business, which had been a money-loser and is now profitable. Hirai also overhauled the smartphone lineup. In its fiscal second quarter ended Sept. 30, Sony reported earnings and revenue that topped analyst expectations because of its PlayStation gaming business. Sales climbed 22.1% to $18.2 billion in the quarter. Since slipping to $20.82 on Feb. 8, 2016, Sony’s shares have more than doubled to reach their two-year high of $47.89 on Nov. 20.

Source: Ralph Lauren

17. Ralph Lauren Corp.
> Current stock price: $104.26
> Latest annual revenue: $6.65 billion
> Industry: Retail

From Nov. 21, 2016 to Jan. 30, 2017, the shares of apparel company Ralph Lauren known for its signature Polo shirts plunged from $112.71 to $76.17. In early February, news broke about a clash between founder Ralph Lauren and CEO Stefan Larsson, who announced he was leaving the the New York City, New York-based company. That coincided with disappointing fiscal third quarter earnings report that sent shares tumbling even further. Ralph Lauren stock bottomed out at $66.11 on May 22, and since then shares have jumped more than 55% to $104.26 on Dec. 29. Earnings have topped analyst estimates in each of the previous four quarters. CEO Patrice Louvet has embarked on a turnaround strategy that includes a two year costing-cutting plan and involves pulling back inventory from department stores and outlets, trimming jobs, and paring management layers. Ralph Lauren reported earnings of $5.71 per share in fiscal year 2017, which ended in April. Analysts expect earnings per share to slip to $5.61 in the current fiscal year. The company also reported $6.65 billion in revenue in fiscal 2017, and analysts think revenue will dip to $6.12 billion this year. In the brutal retail sector, slowing the bleeding counts for something.

Source: RickDeacon / Shutterstock

18. Cisco Systems Inc.
> Current stock price: $38.50
> Latest annual revenue: $48.01 billion
> Industry: Technology

Technology company Cisco is transitioning from a business that heavily relies on hardware and turning to areas such as software and services to drive growth. The stock market likes the strategy, with Cisco shares gradually climbing from their two-year low of $22.89 reached on Feb. 1, 2016 to $38.50 on Dec. 29. The problem is that the shift takes time and is not reflected in results yet. In its 2018 fiscal first quarter ended Oct. 28, Cisco reported a 2% decline in both earnings and revenue. CEO Chuck Robbins was resolute in his belief in the turnaround, saying in a press release, “Our results in Q1 demonstrate the continued progress we’re making on our strategy.” The San Jose, California-based company reported earnings of $2.39 per share in fiscal year 2017, which ended in July. For the current year, analysts expect earnings of $2.46 per share. Analysts also expect revenue to climb slightly from $48.01 billion in fiscal 2017 to $48.49 billion in fiscal 2018. Earnings have topped analyst estimates in each of the prior four quarters.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

19. Chevron Corp.
> Current stock price: $125.45
> Latest annual revenue: $114.5 billion
> Industry: Energy

In the energy sector, oil has rebounded and so has Chevron. The stock was languishing at $82.88 on Feb. 1, 2016, as the price of oil remained depressed. But oil’s rising price mirrored Chevron’s fortunes, and shares of the San Ramon, California-based company surged to $125.45 on Dec. 29. Chevron lost 27 cents per share in 2016. However, analysts expect earnings to climb to $4.17 per share this year. Chevron posted revenue of $110.2 billion in 2016 and analysts expect revenue to increase to $138.9 billion this year. In addition to the rebound in the price of oil, Chevron’s turnaround is also attributed to its low-cost upstream segment along with spending cutbacks.

20. Urban Outfitters Inc.
> Current stock price: $35.34
> Latest annual revenue: $3.54 billion
> Industry: Retail

Shares of Urban Outfitters began a prolonged descent in November 2016 that culminated with their nadir of $17.62 on June 5 of this year. But the stock has doubled in price since and was last trading at $35.34 on Dec. 29. The apparel company’s brands include Anthropologie, Free People, and Urban Outfitters. All three clothing brands posted sales gains in the third quarter ended Oct. 31. Overall, sales in the period increased 3.5% to $893 million. CEO Richard Hayne said in the press release for the third-quarter earnings report that Urban Outfitters benefited from “improved apparel execution across the business.’’ Urban Outfitters’ bottom line is also benefiting from stronger online sales. The company also is pursuing an expansion strategy in Europe. The company reported $3.5 billion in revenue for fiscal year 2017 ended in January. Analysts expect revenue to rise to $3.61 billion in the current year.

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