The 'Dogs' of Wall Street: Here's a Look at Some of the Worst Performing Stocks of the Year

It's National Puppy Day and we at TheStreet got to thinking. What are the biggest dogs of Wall Street in 2017? 

No, not Bill Ackman's Great Dane Charlie (We kid, we don't really know if Ackman has a dog) or the Neapolitan mastiff that stalks the New York Stock Exchange in downtown Manhattan (again, we kid), but the worst performing stocks we at TheStreet have noticed.

Sure, we've all witnesses the recent pullback in financials like JPMorgan (JPM) and other big banks, the current uncertainty hanging over healthcare and biotechnology, and the constant push and pull in the energy markets that have ravaged much of the sector and held down some of the majors such as Exxon (XOM) and Chevron (CVX) . Not to mention the continued Amazon (AMZN) affect that has put some of America's most storied retailers (Macy's (M) and Staples (SPLS)  to name a few) in the dog-house.

But who are the biggest losers? Who's doomed to continue running into the closed glass door and who's poised to run wild after the shackles of regulation are lifted?

TheStreet takes a look.

9. American Airlines
9. American Airlines

American Airlines (AAL)  is the worst-performing industrial sector stock for the year-to-date as carriers continue to struggle to lift passenger travel metrics into the important summer season. And, the carrier has a stubborn thorn in its side.

While its rival Delta (DAL) last week reached a labor contract and profit-sharing agreement with employees, American's pilots' union wants to see CEO Doug Parker removed.

"Since the merger closed over three years ago, we have witnessed questionable economic and strategic decisions that have created gaps in the areas of customer satisfaction, operational performance, and revenue when compared to industry leader Delta," said APA President Dan Carey in a prepared statement.

The stock is off 14.8% year-to-date.

8. Southwestern Energy
8. Southwestern Energy

Southwestern Energy Co. (SWN) is the worst performing energy stock in the S&P 500 as of March 22. The company, which drills for oil and gas in the U.S.'s Appalachian region, is at a disadvantage to some of its rivals drilling in the nation's more productive shale zones in Texas and other western locales.

7. Qualcomm
7. Qualcomm

Shares of Qualcomm (QCOM) surged more than 30% in 2016, due in part to the chipmaker's blockbuster $47 billion acquisition of NXP Semiconductors (NXPI) . The stock has taken a dive this year, however, as a result of concerns surrounding its licensing business, as well as rising competition in the mobile chip market.

Qualcomm shares have tumbled 12.5% so far this year. 

6. Synchrony Financial
6. Synchrony Financial

It's been a rough go for the former unit of General Electric's (GE) capital division. 

The recent rout of the financials has left Synchrony Financial (SYF) down about 7% year-to-date and despite a 1.5% uptick on Thursday, it may be slow going for the consumer finance company.

According to FactSet, analysts have a mean buy rating on the stock, while it at around $33.60 per share. Estimates, however, range from as low as $38 per share to as high as $47 per share. Is there a catalyst waiting (like reduced regulation) that can push the company toward those targets or is Synchrony doomed to remain in the doghouse? 

5. J.C. Penney
5. J.C. Penney

Wall Street is starting to not so quietly voice its opinion on the prospects this year for struggling department store J.C. Penney (JCP) .

Nearly 34% of J.C. Penney's (JCP) shares were sold short this week, up from about 26% ahead of the company unveiling a major restructuring plan on Feb. 24, according to Bloomberg data. Shorting a stock is a wager on a further decline in value.

To be sure, the market has good reason to position for J.C. Penney shares adding to their 34% loss so far this year.

In the wake of a disappointing holiday season, J.C. Penney will close 138 stores by the second quarter. The closures represent 13% to 14% of the company's current store base and less than 5% of annual sales. They have a negligible impact on net income. J.C. Penney said same-store sales at the locations were "significantly below" the remaining store base and operate at a much higher expense rate due to poor productivity.

4. TripAdvisor
4. TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor (TRIP) could prove to be one of 2017's biggest losers, as the stock has been driven lower by four straight quarters of disappointing earnings. The travel website is investing heavily in advertising to keep up with competition from Alphabet's (GOOGL) Google and Priceline (PCLN) , among others, and analysts have said that may leave shares challenged in the near term.

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3. Chesapeake Energy
3. Chesapeake Energy

It has been a rough go of it for Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake (CHK) . The company's stock has fallen about 30% since the start of the year and if natural gas and oil prices don't rebound, shares could be in further trouble.

TheStreet's Tom Terrarosa noted in a recent piece that natural gas prices could be on the rise in the next few months as signs continue to point to a potential El Nino weather event sometime later this year.

Beaten down gas stocks like Chesapeake and even Southwestern Energy (SWN) , down around 29% and 31% in the past three months, respectively, could stand to benefit from such an uptick in demand.

2. Valeant
2. Valeant

Valeant  (VRX)  seems to be one of the most watched and traded stocks on the market. Despite the best efforts of management to coral its $31 billion debt pile, no matter what happens it's tough for this company to get out of the dog house. 

Valeant shares have been active this week on news the company completed previously announced refinancing transactions.

Valeant's shares are down about 26% year-to-date.

1. Sears ... duh
1. Sears ... duh

Kudos to Sears Holdings Corp. (SHLD)  for finally admitting what everyone already knew: it's almost dead. Sears indicated in its newly filed annual report that "substantial doubt exists related to the company's ability to continue as a going concern." Well, duh.

Sears' cash position has melted from a high point of $1.7 billion for the 2009 calendar year to a mere $286 million to close out 2016. Revenue hasn't grown since the credit boom lifted all ships in retail in 2006. The company hasn't generated cash flow from its operations since 2006. "With negative news like this, it's never good for confidence on the company," Moody's VP Christina Boni told TheStreet. Earlier this year, Moody's downgraded its credit rating on Sears to Caa2 from Caa1. The downgrade reflected the accelerating negative sales performance of Sears' business and risk of possible default.

Shares of Sears have crashed about 11.3% this year.

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