6 Large Cap Stocks with High Levels of Volatiliy

Jacob Harper  |

Small caps can be notoriously unstable, but it’s pretty unusual to see a company with over $10 billion in revenue have their stock move violently up and down. It takes a major force to knock a large cap around. And we found with these six stocks, there was usually a pretty major reason why they've taken their investors on a wild ride.

American International Group, Inc. (AIG)

This sould come as no surprise. This $66.2 billion market cap insurance company was the central proponent/casualty/largesse recipient of the Great Recession. Possibly no company on the planet has gone through the wringer like they did and come out the other side intact like AIG.

AIG has seen some catastrophic highs and lows in the last five years, but mainly lows. The stock is down 89.98 percent from five years ago. Though word is the company is actually paying back the government bailout, and one day may even gain back at least a part of their former glory. AIG is now up 22.17 percent on the year to hit $44.89 a share.

General Growth Properties Inc. (GGP)

Another proponent/victim of the housing crisis, General Growth Properties is a major player in the mortgage business. In 2008 they reported over $25 billion in debt, and filed for Chapter 11 in 2009. And in an unsual move, they did not cancel old stock after their restructuring and spinoff.

Like AIG, GGP has started to see a turnaround, albeit a very slight one. Their stock is up .86 percent on the year to hit $20.02 a share. This puts them near pre-housing crash levels, and way above their low of 40 cents a share.

Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. (HIG)

Another volatile large cap, another company associated with the housing crash. Hartford Financial Services, known colloquially as The Hartford, is in the life insurance business. But more cogent to their volatility, they also insure property-and-casualty. And that hurt them dearly during the crash.

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The Hartford has really recovered in the last six months. Though their stock is still down 51.82 percent over the last five years, they’ve regained 37.75 percent this year to hit $30.91 a share.

Proshares UltraShort DJ-USB Crude Oil (SCO)

It shouldn’t be too surprising that an ETF that specializes in shorting a commodity as volatile as the price of crude oil should be volatile itself. And this $42.64 billion market cap ETF from ProShares certainly is, riding out several protracted ups and downs in its history.

This ETF has been erratic since January, and is down 15.08 percent on the year, currently sitting at $34 a share. But that performance is nothing compared to its activity in 2008, which saw a dramatic spike to over $200 a share followed by a sudden crash. The ETF has lost 74.32 percent of its value since its price five years ago.

Las Vegas Sands (LVS)

It's no secret that Vegas was one of the biggest losers in the housing debacle, and Sands was one of the city's biggets players. In 2008 the company was losing over $1,000 a second, and their stock plunged 97 percent that year.

But things are looking up as Sands looks to expland into Singapore and Macau with multi-billion dollar gaming projects. Their stock is up 12.28 percent this year to hit $51.79 a share, putting htem back almost exactly where they were before the financial crisis began.

Teck Resources Limited (TCK)

This Canadian mining company wasn’t associated with the housing crash, beyond the fact that the demand for coal lowered during the global crisis. And they don’t deal in volatile commodities like crude. What’s taken Teck on such a wild ride is a series of buyouts, layoffs, restructuring, and recent record profits that caused the company’ stock to violently dip up and down. In 2008 they bought out Fording Canadian Coal Trust. The following year, they laid off 1400 workers. And they ended 2011 with record numbers and $4.4 billion in cash. During these years, the stock went up and down rapidly.

But then, the gold market tanked, and their stock has tumbled. TCK is down 43.39 percent on the year to $20.54 a share.

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