With The Year Close To An End What Have Been The Best And The Worse Stocks

Its been a tough year for investors once again with the S&P/ASX 200, closed at 4745 points on December 31 last year and as of last Friday November 25 had fallen to 3984. A whopping 16% loss of market value (excluding dividends).

The market worked hard for the first 7 weeks of the year, driving to a high of 4939, before plunging to 4480 (almost 10%) just under a month later. We recovered quickly; hitting the year high in the second week of April, but that was to be the brightest spot of 2011.

The trend has been pretty ugly since, and we’re off around 20% since that mid-April peak.

Not only has the year been tough overall, but the gyrations of the market have been enough to provoke bouts of sea-sickness even in the toughest of market veterans. Regular movements (up and down) of 1 and 2% weren’t – unfortunately – unusual.

With that said let’s take a look at the best and worst performing stocks of 2011.

Five of the Best from 2011

As we draw towards the end of 2011, as of November 25 the S&P/ASX 200 index is down 16% compared with the end of last year. It’s been a tough year in anyone’s language, and few companies have been spared the mood of pessimism that has pervaded the market, largely unchecked, since 2008.

That said, some companies have had a wonderful 2011, despite the overall market pessimism and economic lethargy. Here are five ASX 200 companies soundly beating the index so far this year:

Five of the Worst from 2011

I don’t have to tell you that 2011 has been a tough year for investors.

As of November 25, the S&P / ASX 200 index is down 16% and if you’re like me, your portfolio is a little worse for wear, with a falling market not sparing many companies. When a sentiment of pessimism strikes, even some of the most profitable, best managed companies in the country can’t escape the investor gloom.

Still, given the ASX 200 is simply an average of its components, many companies do better and many others do considerably worse – by definition.  That means many shareholders are sitting on 2011 losses in some companies that are multiples of the average loss. If you hold some of these companies, I apologise for the reminder.

The businesses below are among those which bore the heaviest brunt of investor dissatisfaction in 2011:

Warren Buffett isn’t the most successful investor in our history for nothing. Sometimes, no matter how hard management tries, the dynamic with its customers, competitors and suppliers makes the task more than Herculean. In those cases, investors are well advised to stay clear and focus on more attractive opportunities. So too, with turnaround candidates and ‘big bet’ strategies.

When the companies manage to pull them off, investors can be amply rewarded. However, the business and investing landscape is littered with the stories of those who tried and failed – and that’s where Buffett’s rule number 1 – “don’t lose money” – should be at the front of every investor’s mind.