It is possible for stocks to be recognized for their investment value and strong products yet still spiral downward.

Such was the case this year with Mondelez International (MDLZ) - Get Report  and Stericycle (SRCL) - Get Report .

Confectionary maker Mondelez International, which is famous for brands such as Cadbury, Oreo and Trident, dramatically under-performed its peers this year.

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Even legendary investor Warren E. Buffett's holding company Berkshire Hathaway was affected by Mondelez International's slack performance. Mondelez International's stock is down about 4.5% loss this year, compared with smaller peer Tootsie Roll Industries, shares of which gained 30%.

Mondelez International's attempts to become the world's largest candy company by wanting to buy Hershey didn't come to fruition. And Hershey's stock is up about 12% this year.

Mondelez International's fundamentals are pretty shaky. Those who are looking for promising growth prospects next year should look elsewhere.

The company isn't earning its cost of capital and has also failed to increase its book value for half a decade.

Earnings growth has been non-existent over the past five years, though the company is expected to deliver an average annual earnings-per-share growth of nearly 13% over next few years.

As a result, the stock looks fairly valued at 20 times at its forward price-earnings ratio.

One positive for Mondolez International would be if it were acquired. There has been speculation that Kraft Heinz might be interested.

Kraft Heinz is a holding in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio. See how Cramer rates the stock here. Want to be alerted before Cramer buys or sells KHC? Learn more now.

Meanwhile, shares of medical waste disposal specialist Stericycle also took a beating this year, falling more than 37%, with earnings challenges resurfacing, after sliding 8% last year.

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Stericycle's shares under-performed waste management peers such as Republic Services, up 28%-plus, and Waste Management,up 31%

Earnings growth isn't seen as likely next year, and sales are expected to grow a mere 1%.

Stericycle's small-quantity business is also visibly under pressure, and prospects look bleak. This business is a larger piece of the company's total sales pie and offers higher margins.

Next year looks like it will be difficult for Stericycle, with the company indicating possible negative earnings growth and a flat operating margin.

Trading at about 16 times forward earnings, the stock isn't a compelling value proposition, either, given its earnings prospects.


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The author is an independent contributor who at the time of publication owned none of the stocks mentioned.