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5 Worst-Performing Stocks Of 2010: Where Are They Now?

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5 Worst-Performing Stocks Of 2010: Where Are They Now?

More than halfway through 2020, an extremely volatile year in the stock market has produced very little overall changes in the S&P 500, which is now down just 0.5% year to date. However, the COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent lockdowns have produced huge winners and losers in 2020 among individual stocks.

Many Robinhood users have piled into the hardest-hit stocks, such as cruise stocks and airline stocks, hoping to buy the dip and profit off a recovery. Since the March lows, this strategy of buying the worst-performing stocks has worked fairly well. But just how well does the strategy of buying the weakest market performers work out in the long term?

Benzinga took a look back to a decade ago to take a look at the five worst-performing stocks of 2010 and how well buying a portfolio of these five stocks at the end of the year would have performed in the decade that followed. Here’s what we found.

The Worst Of 2010

The worst-performing S&P 500 stock of 2010 was lumber, pulp and paper company Weyerhaeuser Co (NYSE: WY), which declined 56% on the year thanks to a difficult housing market. An investor who bought Weyerhaeuser stock at the end of 2010 would have generated a total return of 90.7% to date.

The second-worst performer of 2010 was milk processor Dean Foods Co (OTC: DFODQ), which declined by 52%. Dean may have seemed like a buying opportunity at the time, but the company ultimately declared bankruptcy in 2019 and its stock has understandably lost 99.2% of its total value since the end of 2010.

The third worst-performing stock of 2010 was tax giant H & R Block Inc (NYSE: HRB), which was down 47.8% that year. H&R Block shares have rebounded in the decade since, generating a 77.3% total return to date.

The fourth worst S&P 500 stock of 2010 was Apollo Group, which traded under the ticker APOL and dropped 34.4% that year. Apollo Group was eventually taken private at a price of $9.50 per share in 2016, about 76.2% lower than its closing price at the end of 2010.

Finally, the fifth worst-performing stock of 2010 was offshore oil driller Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc (OTC: DOFSQ), which declined by 33% that year. Diamond Offshore also succumbed to bankruptcy in April of this year, and its stock is now down 99.4% from its year-end 2010 price.

Benzinga’s Take

Buying the market laggards, or the so-called “dash for trash” trade, may seem like a good idea, and it may even work in the short-term. However, a look back at the market laggards of 2010 shows just how dangerous these stocks can be as long-term investments.

Three of the five worst-performers of the year lost virtually all their market value or were taken private at a steep discount to their 2010 closing prices. The other two generated positive returns over the subsequent decade, but both lagged the performance of the overall S&P 500.
In fact, $5,000 invested in the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY) at the end of 2010 would now be worth about $15,450, assuming reinvested dividends. An investor who had bought $1,000 each of 2010s worst performers would now have about $3,932 remaining.

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