Most of us are looking at 2018 with optimism. The past year (and then some) has been good for stock market investors. Employment, wages, and corporate fundamentals are all edging upward. Adding more fuel to America’s economic resurgence, President Trump signed a major tax cut that will put more money into the hands of companies, households, and individual investors.
At Potus Trader, we’re always looking forward. However, the end of the year is also a time of reflection. We’re looking back at 2017 with a critical eye. Not all of our bets paid off.
In this piece, we take a look at some of the most disappointing stocks of 2017. Some are poised for better things in 2018. Some we wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole. As it goes with investing, sometimes we need to be patient and wait for our smart investment to pay off—and sometimes we need to cut our losses.
Under Armour (UA)
This sportswear company went public in 2005, capturing a big niche of the apparel market. Under Armour’s stock reached a high of $103.71 in September 2015.
Since then, however, the company has gone nowhere but down. The stock is currently trading at $14.14 and has fallen 78% over the past 12 months.
What’s behind Under Armour’s poor performance? Sales have disappointed in the face of stiff competition from Nike and Adidas. The company’s Q3 revenue fell by 4% year-on-year, its first decline in revenue since going public.
The story certainly isn’t over for Under Armour. But unless the company can adapt to a more competitive sportswear market, this stock is not worth holding.
This Houston-based Oil & Gas company has struggled in 2017. Currently trading at $48.57, Halliburton’s stock price has fallen by 14% since the year began, struggling due to uncertainty about the prices of oil and natural gas.
Halliburton doesn’t produce energy itself, instead it provides much of the equipment and many of the services necessary to the extraction process.
While it has done poorly for most of 2017, there are signs that Halliburton could be in line for better things in 2018. The company’s Q3 revenue smashed expectations, increasing by 42% to reach $5.44 billion. The company has earned higher revenue even with slow growth in the U.S. rig count, showing that Halliburton is gaining a bigger market share.
What’s more, the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil is on the way back up. WTI is currently selling for $59.55 per barrel, the highest since June 2015.
Halliburton was one of the most disappointing stocks of 2017, but expect better things in the year to come.
General Electric (GE)
GE has been a big downer in 2017, falling by 45% to $17.36—its lowest price since 2009. Things have been so bad that Jeff Immelt resigned as CEO this summer.
The global manufacturing giant has been one of the market’s most disappointing stocks for some time. It has been in decline since 2001, with falling revenue and free cash flow the symptoms of a failed business model.
GE employs nearly 300,000 people worldwide, so it’s not only the livelihoods of investors that are on the line. Some analysts are optimistic about new CEO John Flannery, who is slashing overhead costs in an effort to stop the bleeding.
Still, unless General Electric can find a way to compete with better-performing rivals like Honeywell and United Technologies, things could still get worse for this company.
Foot Locker (FL)
The decline of traditional retailers has been a theme in 2017, and Foot Locker was not spared. The company’s stock is currently trading at $47.09—down 34% since the year began.
Fall 2017 was especially bad for Foot Locker. After the release of disappointing Q2 revenue figures—total sales fell by 4.4%–the stock price took a big dip and bottomed out at $29.24 in early November.
Foot Locker CEO Steve Johnson is trying to stop the problem at its source, vowing to cut costs and respond more quickly to trends in the retail industry.
There’s a chance that Foot Locker can be an exception to the rule of declining retail stores, but we aren’t betting on that happening.