Year in Review: The Best and Worst Dow Stocks in 2011

(Written by Rebecca Lipman)

The Dow Jones index is up 6% from the start of the year, a number that hides some of the index’s more significant changes.

For investors following the market, the biggest winners and losers of the year shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise.

Dow Winners

The sweet smell of French fries, the sight of golden arches on the horizon, and higher unemployment, all likely helped fast food giant McDonald’s (MCD) to report strong domestic and global sales in 2011. The stock is up 31% from the start of the year.

CNN Money reports: Shares hit an all-time high of $100.82 this week before settling back a bit to close Thursday at $100.81.

Dow’s second place performer is IBM (IBM), which grew 27% year to date. “IBM had already achieved its run up by the time Buffett disclosed in November that Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA) had purchased a 5% stake in the company.”

Dow Losers

The biggest loser is Bank of America (BAC), which dropped 59% from the start of the year. It hasn’t reached such lows since 2009. Even Warren Buffett’s $5 billion investment in August couldn’t help BofA rebound.

In 2011 BofA was involved with all sorts of scandal, and like most banks it is tied up with the debt issues in Europe. BofA also announced plans to lay off thousands of employees, and suffered some very bad PR with its $5 per month debit card fee which it dropped after weeks of very public consumer backlash. CNN also reminds us that it lost its title of the nation’s largest bank to rival JPMorgan Chase in the third quarter.

The second biggest loser of the year is Alcoa (AA), whose shares dropped 44% from the start of the year.

CNN reports: “In comparison to Bank of America’s high profile problems, aluminium maker Alcoa’s stock suffered a relatively quiet slide, as concerns about a looming recession in Europe and a possible slowdown in Chinese production hammered pricing and profits.”


Business News – Investing Ideas

Do you think this year’s biggest Dow winners and losers will have a bright(er) future in 2012? If you’re interested in following the names mentioned above, here are some tools to get you started:

Interactive Chart: Use the Compar-O-Matic to compare analyst ratings for all the stocks mentioned below.

Use the Turbo Chart to see how its stock performance of MCD and IBAM compares to the S&P500 index.

Use the Turbo Chart to see how its stock performance of AA and BAC compares to the S&P500 index.