The Least Transparent Stocks in America

'Corporate Responsibility Magazine' reveals the 30 least transparent companies on the Russell 1000. Which ones are in your portfolio?
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NEW YORK (TheStreet) - What do Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) - Get Report pictured below , Lorillard (LO) and HCP (HCP) - Get Report all have in common? Something they would likely rather not have in common: they are among the corporate names that have been black-listed by Corporate Responsibility Magazine for their lack of transparency.

In its most recent issue released today,

CR Magazine

cited 30 companies, including

Scripps Networks Interactive

(SNI)

and

SL Green Realty

(SLG) - Get Report

, each with zero points of relevant data to compare their transparency to their peers on the Russell 1000 list of large-cap firms.

CR Magazine

used 349 data points (the same used to compile its "100 Best List") in seven categories -- environment, climate change, human rights, employee relations, philanthropy, financial and governance -- to tally the black list.

According to

CR's

report, 612 of the 1,000 offered no discernible disclosures relevant to climate change performance, 600 companies did not have information on broader environmental issues and 161 did not even provide basics about their employee-benefit programs.

The magazine said it contacted each of the companies in the bottom 30 requesting any data that would help correct files, but none of the firms responded.

In light of the fraud and good, old-fashioned corporate malfeasance that helped fuel the recent economic downturn, information on the behavior of a company has, of course, become increasingly important to investors. But there is not only a moral obligation for these companies to reveal their practices, but a financial one, too. When comparing the three-year return to shareholders between

CR's

2010 "Best 100" companies and the "Black List,"

CR

found a clear correlation between performance and transparency.

The top 100 most transparent companies -- a list that includes

Hewlett-Packard

(HPQ) - Get Report

,

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

,

General Mills

(GIS) - Get Report

and

International Business Machines

(IBM) - Get Report

-- averaged a return of 2.4% during the latest threee-year span, while the bottom 28 out of 30 least transparent companies experienced a 7.4% decline during the same time period.

While certain aspects of a company's financials are required to be reported to the Securities and Exchange Commission (like stock options offered to executives), other factors (like how a company treats its workers or if it dumps toxic waste), do not have to be recorded. But this doesn't mean a company doesn't have a responsibility to its shareholders.

Those without disclosures in these areas raise questions of credibility, according to

CR

.

"From their lack of disclosure we do not know if they are afraid of the data due to poor performance, if they are thumbing their corporate noses at us or, worse, if they are not even aware that stockholders care," the report stated.

It would not be hard for these companies to get themselves off the list,

CR

says; all they would have to do is make a few data points publicly available.

"Some of the actions required are the public company hygiene equivalent of washing your hands after visiting the restroom," the report said. "Yet all 'Black List' companies have made a decision to skip that basic step."

In light of all this, we've decided to bring the question to you: Which of the following companies on the

CR

list do you consider to be the least transparent? Take the poll below to see what

TheStreet

thinks.

-- Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York.

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