To say that 2009 was a tumultuous year for stocks is clearly an understatement. Some, though, fared better than others. Here's a brief rundown of the year's best and worst performing stocks listed on the Nasdaq.
It's nice to be wanted, and for much of the fourth quarter, two of coffee's biggest names - Green Mountain ( GMCR and Peet's ( PEET -- lusted for Diedrich Coffee's ( DDRX goods. Diedrich, a $68 million southern California bean roaster and wholesaler, sells its blends at coffee houses around the country. But the huge growth has come from its K-cup business, or the Diedrich-branded coffee packs used with single-cup brewing systems. With the K-cup industry growing more than 70% over the past few years, Peet's tried to make entry by offering to buy Diedrich for $213 million. But in early December, Green Mountain, which owns the licensing rights for K-cups, countered and eventually won. Green Mountain is currently in the process of buying Diedrich for $290 million. SCSS, the Plymouth, Minn., maker of specialty beds, have greatly rebounded thanks to a number of fund-raising deals the company has struck to pad itself against bleeding sales. After admitting he misjudged consumers' willingness to pay thousands of dollars for high-tech mattresses during the worst recession in recent history, CEO Bill McLaughlin is making amends. In June, the company tapped a private equity firm for $35 million, which it used to get rid of its outstanding debt. More recently, Select boosted its working capital by raising $16.4 million via a public offering of 3.8 million shares of common stock, which helped spike its stock to about $6.50 a share.
VNDA - Get Report), a developer of clinical-stage drugs for central nervous system disorders like schizophrenia and insomnia, wins the best Cinderella story of the year. After the Food and Drug Administration rejected its schizophrenia drug Fanapt in June 2008, Vanda's luck turned less than a year later. The FDA approved Fanapt in May, sending shares of the company leaping more than 800% to just under $10 a share. More recently, Vanda, whose flagship product Fanapt competes with drugs sold by Eli Lilly ( LLY and Pfizer ( PFE, scored $200 million by inking a licensing deal with Novartis AG ( NVS, which will sell Fanapt in the U.S. and in Canada. NLST owes its big stock run to a dizzying November jump. The shares rose more than 10-fold from 65 cents to $7.27 in 20 days. The excitement was related to a new HyperCloud chip for the server market, announced Nov. 11. The move may help the company shift its business from a low-margin supplier to outfits like Dell ( DELL and Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ to a more specialized data center player. this year's Best Biotech CEO has shown wondrous stock performance. Human Genome ( HGSI, based in Rockville, Md., develops drugs to treat hepatitis C, lupus, inhalation anthrax, and cancer. The company turned a cornerstone this year when it received positive results from two phase III studies of its lupus drug, Benlysta, putting the company on a path toward its first blockbuster product. Human Genome, with annual revenues of about $236 million, opened the year with stock prices at about $2 and finished at about $30.