10 Worst-Performing S&P 500 Stocks of the Year

BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- A year that began with optimism for the stock market has turned into a rout. The worst performer on the benchmark S&P 500 Index has lost two-thirds of its value.

Things are so bad that the 10 biggest laggards have fallen at least 50% this year.

The Standard & Poor's index, which tracks the performance of the 500 largest U.S. stocks and is used as a benchmark for the overall health of the U.S. equities market, is down 6.5% so far in 2011 and is barely above water over the past 12 months, with a 1.6% gain.

The index topped out at 1,370 points on May 2. It didn't start its steep decline until the last week of July, and the third quarter has turned into a horror show, because, as of Sept. 23, it had lost 14% in the period.

The still-evolving sovereign debt crisis in Europe, the growing threat of a double-dip recession in the U.S., and the lack of leadership on economic policy from the Federal Reserve and the White House, have all served to send investors to the sidelines, or to gold.

The bottom 10 performers listed below include a wide array of businesses ranging from basic industries, such as coal and steel, to financial services, including one of the nation's largest banks. Surprisingly, many of these stocks have garnered mostly positive ratings from analysts.

In order of worst to least-worst, here are the 10 poorest-performing stocks in the S&P 500 Index this year:

1. Monster Worldwide ( MWW) provides Web sites that match up job seekers and employers. Its service is active in 50 countries.

But its earnings outlook and share performance are tied to the employment situation, which has been dismal for the past few years and has held at 9.1% nationally for the past two months. As a result, Monster's shares are down 67% this year, giving it a market value of $967 million.

Analysts are surprisingly upbeat on the company, giving its shares seven "buy" ratings, one "moderate buy," five "holds," and one "strong sell," according to TheStreet Ratings.

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2. Alpha Natural Resources ( ANR) is a major producer of thermal coal used in electric power plants and metallurgical coal used in the steel-making process.

It shares have fallen 63% this year, giving it a market value of $4.7 billion.

It acquired Foundation Coal in 2009 and Massey Energy in 2011, and so has become one of the largest coal miners in North America.

If the economy continues to slow in the U.S., it will continue to suffer as demand from industry for coal slows. And as a big supplier to Asia, and China in particular, its results may also be hurt by slowing demand from there.

Analysts give it amazingly strong ratings, including 12 "buys," "one "moderate buy" and four "holds," according to TheStreet Ratings.


3. American International Group ( AIG) shares are down 60% this year. The company, which averted collapse three years ago during the financial crisis, thanks to a government bailout, is a much smaller company than back then and is now focused primarily on its property-casualty and life-insurance businesses.

It's been showing signs of improvement as it posted earnings of $1 per share in the second quarter. Its future growth is seen as limited given that it sold off most of its interest in its highly profitable Asian life insurance unit in order to raise cash.

Its current annualized return on equity is about 7%.

AIG has a $41 billion market value, but the government is still disposing of its preferred shares of the company that it bought in the crisis, which may serve to water down prices for some time.

Its shares get four "strong buy" ratings and eight "holds," from analysts, per TheStreet Ratings.

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4. Genworth Financial ( GNW) shares are down 59% this year, giving it a market value of $2.5 billion.

The company is a financial-services conglomerate as a provider of domestic and international mortgage, long-term care and life insurance. It also sells annuities.

Genworth's results have suffered primarily due to its mortgage insurance business. As foreclosures continue at a high level it is likely to continue to bleed red ink in that business, but its foreign insurance businesses are improving and providing much of its current earnings.

Analysts give its shares get three "strong buy" ratings, seven "holds," one "moderate sell," and one "strong sell," according to TheStreet Ratings.


5. U.S. Steel ( X) is the second-largest steel company in America and ranked among the top 20 globally.

Its shares are down 58% this year, giving it market value of $3.6 billion.

The company is mostly self-sufficient since it owns sources of the iron ore and coke needed to make steel and that gives it a big cost advantage over competitors. But demand is highly dependent on economic growth both at home and internationally. In the most recent quarter, it posted earnings of $1.04 per share, helped by higher prices for its end products.

Analysts give U.S. Steel six "strong buy" ratings, one "moderate buy," four "holds," one "moderate sell," and one "strong sell," according to TheStreet Ratings.

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6. Hudson City Bancorp ( HCBK) operates in areas of New Jersey, New York and Connecticut, which include many of the wealthiest markets in the nation. It has been a major issuer of jumbo residential mortgage loans to prime borrowers in that region.

Its shares have declined at a steady rate all year and are down 57%, giving it a market value of $2.9 billion.

It posted record net income in 2009 and again in 2010, but in the first quarter it announced a balance-sheet restructuring with $1.7 billion in charges, which contributed to its quarterly loss of $460 million.

The company was hurt by the low interest rate environment and increased competition for mortgage customers from government sponsored entities.

Analysts give it 14 "hold" ratings and one "strong sell," according to TheStreet Ratings.


7. Akamai Technologies ( AKAM) is a provider of Internet content delivery network solutions that speed up Web site performance for its customers, which include e-commerce companies, enterprises, and media and entertainment companies.

Its shares have fallen 54% this year, resulting in a market value of $4 billion.

The company has seen a slowdown in the businesses of many of its customers and increased competition from telecommunications providers with their own solutions to the technological issues facing Internet content deliverers.

Essentially, it's a company that has to keep reinventing itself through new products and services if it is to continue growing.

Analysts give its shares eight "strong buy" ratings, two "moderate buys," 11 "holds" and one "moderate sell," according to survey by TheStreet Ratings.

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8. AK Steel Holding ( AKS) operates seven U.S. steelmaking facilities and is a leading provider of high-value-added products such as stainless and electrical steel.

Its shares have tumbled 53.5% this year, resulting in a market value of $839 million.

AK Steel's future has been clouded by higher raw materials costs, especially that of high-quality iron ore, and by increased competition, especially from imports.

A slowing economy is also seen hurting demand for its customers, which include automakers, builders and consumer-goods manufacturers.

Analysts give it five "strong buy" ratings, one "moderate buy," four "holds," and two "moderate sells," according to TheStreet Ratings.


9. Janus Capital Group ( JNS) provides investment-management services to individuals and institutional investors.

Its shares are down 52.5% this year, resulting in a market value of $1.1 billion.

It had about $170 billion in assets under management at the end of the second quarter, making it a medium-sized asset manager in an increasingly competitive and consolidating industry.

Janus offers growth and value equity mutual funds as well as fixed-income funds.

The bear market has hit the company hard, as equities make up 90% of its assets under management and retail investors make up more than 70% of its managed-assets customers, and they have been bailing out of stocks this year.

Analysts give it four "strong buy" ratings, six "holds," three "moderate sells," and one "strong sell," according to TheStreet Ratings.

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10. Bank of America ( BAC), the ninth-largest stock in the S&P 500, has seen its shares tumble 53% this year, resulting in a market value of $64.7 billion. Its shares hit a 52-week low of $6 on Sept. 22.

The bank's ill-fated $4 billion acquisition of troubled Countrywide Mortgage in 2008 has resulted in continued heavy losses due to the high rate of foreclosures on the mortgages it created. The company also faces potential legal liabilities of tens of billions of dollars from investor lawsuits because of this deal.

The bank also faces the economic challenges that other U.S. banks do, including weak new loan growth and a low, flat yield curve, which will likely pinch net interest margins for the foreseeable future.

Indicative of the turmoil at Bank of America, early this month it announced that it is replacing two of its top executives, Sallie Krawcheck, president of global wealth and investment management, and Joe Price, president of consumer and small business banking

Analysts give its shares eight "strong buy" ratings, one "moderate buy," 13 "holds," and one "moderate sell," according to TheStreet Ratings.

>>To see these stocks in action, visit the 10 Worst-Performing S&P 500 Stocks portfolio on Stockpickr.
Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors and reporters from holding positions in any individual stocks.

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