March 31 marks the end of the first quarter of 2014, and, with it, a fourth of the fiscal year is in the books. We’re starting to get an idea of what 2014’s story looks like, and if the first chapter is any indication, we’re in for quite an interesting ride.
Big-box retail continues to suffer, solar is shining, and a dark horse independent driller has begun to position themselves as an energy play definitely worth paying attention to. Here’s a closer look at this year’s top gainers and biggest losers:
5. Cliffs Natural Resources (CLF)
2014 YTD Performance: -23.20 percent
A big loser last year as well, the industrial metals and minerals company has shed nearly a quarter of their value this year on pessimism concerning the Chinese economy, to which Cliff’s is closely tied.
4. International Game Technology (IGT)
2014 YTD Performance: -23.90 percent
IGT has plummeted in 2014 after slashing guidance. The company, which manufactures casino gaming machines, announced on March 25 that they would be laying off 7 percent of their approximately 5,000-person workforce, sending shares downward sharply.
3. The ADT Corporation ($AQDT)
2014 YTD Performance: -26.28 percent
ADT has become the subject of considerable pessimism on Wall Street. On Feb. 20 analysts at Imperial cut their price target on the stock from $50 to $46 a share. Additionally, the short float on the residential and small business security company is substantial at 21.25 percent.
2. Staples, Inc. (SPLS)
2014 YTD Performance: -27.72 percent
The big box office supply store has been negatively affected by the sea change away from big box retail. On March 6 Staples announced they were seeking to close 225 stores in an attempt to save some $500 million in expenses.
1. Best Buy (BBY)
2014 YTD Performance: -34.20 percent
Big box retailer Best Buy is a study in extremes. Last year they were the S&P’s biggest turnaround story, going from the worst performer in 2012 to the best in 2013. Best Buy continues their rollercoaster ride in 2014, once again performing worse than every single one of the other 499 components this year.
5. Harman International Industries (HAR)
2014 YTD Performance: +27.15 percent
The audio equipment maker has performed well on the back of an earnings beat and favorable analyst assessments. Morgan Stanley upgraded shares of the company on March 4 to underweight, and on March 21 Guggenheim raised their price target on shares from $70 to $98.
4. First Solar (FSLR)
2014 YTD Performance: +27.65 percent
While solar’s run as of late has been tempered somewhat, First Solar is still having a magnificent year, adding onto their substantial 70.8 percent gain in 2013.
3. Tyson Foods Inc. (TSN)
2014 YTD Performance: +28.35 percent
An overall uptick in chicken and beef sales this year has spurred on this food processing powerhouse. Their fourth quarter earnings were especially strong, showing a 47 percent increase in net income.
2. Nabor Industries (NBR)
2014 YTD Performance: +44.04 percent
This independent oil driller has popped after staying mostly flat last year. A massive earnings beat on Feb. 19 spurred on the Bermuda-based company’s impressive 2014 performance.
1. Forest Laboratories (FRX)
2014 YTD Performance: +51.92 percent
The year’s top performer, big pharma Forest Laboratories, skyrocketed after Actavis (ACT) announced their intention to acquire the company.