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5 Sectors That Have Been Smashed Since 2009

The stock market has more than doubled since spring 2009, but there are a handful of laggards that remains just as battered now as they were back then.

And with good reason.

The global economy has undergone tremendous upheaval. In technology, we saw the rise of mobile devices by companies like Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and streaming media from companies like Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX). In retail, e-commerce king Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) continues to eat everyone’s lunch, and global spending trouble has made the competition for consumers much tougher. And of course, you have turmoil in finance, housing, manufacturing — you name it.

So what sectors have been left behind since the Great Recession, either through poor leadership or by secular trends squeezing them out? Here’s a short list, with performance since April 1, 2009. (Note: The S&P 500 has tacked on 105% in the same period.)

Tech Dinosaurs

The iPhone and iPad started the revolution, and these companies have failed to capitalize in a post-PC age:

  • Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE:AMD) is off a little less than 5% since April 2009.
  • Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) is down more than 30%.
  • BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) has plunged more than 60%.
  • Nokia (NYSE:NOK) has sunk more than 70%.

Retail Dinosaurs

Either because of a poor connection with today’s consumers or a failure to compete in an e-commerce world, these retail stocks are a shadow of what they once were.

  • Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS) is down almost 20% since April 2009.
  • JCPenney (NYSE:JCP) has fallen more than 20%.
  • Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) is down almost 30%.
  • RadioShack (NYSE:RSH) has shed more than 65%.

For-Profit Education

After coming under fire for spending most of its money on recruiting, then watching many students drop out after a short time with big-time student loans, for-profit education stocks have been gutted by brand tarnish and by increasingly tough regulations.

  • DeVry (NYSE:DV) has lost more than 40% since April 2009.
  • Strayer Education (NASDAQ:STRA) is down more than 70%.
  • Apollo Group (NASDAQ:APOL) has fallen by more than 75%.
  • ITT Educational Services (NYSE:ESI) has cratered by 85%.

Shipping Stocks

The downturn in the global economy hurt shipping volume, and the timing coincided with delivery of a new generation in mammoth vessels. The resulting glut in supply and lack of demand meant a race to the bottom in these one-time darlings of momentum investors.

  • Diana Shipping (NYSE:DSX) is off more than 30% since April 2009.
  • DryShips (NASDAQ:DRYS) is down about 70%.
  • Teekay Tankers (NYSE:TNK) has shed roughly 70%.
  • Frontline (NYSE:FRO) has plunged more than 90%.

Solar Stocks

In 2008, it seemed solar stocks were the way of the future as crude oil surged to more than $140 a barrel and as energy demand stayed robust thanks to China growth and American consumption. But as oil rolled back and cheap natural gas flooded the market thanks to fracking, the cost savings of solar dimmed. Throw in austerity at home and abroad that cut government subsidies for solar, and it has been a dark period for the sector.

  • Yingli Green Energy (NYSE:YGE) is down more than 30% since April 2009.
  • SunPower (NASDAQ:SPWR) has fallen more than 40%.
  • JA Solar (NASDAQ:JASO) is off almost 60%.
  • First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) also is down more than 60%.

Jeff Reeves is the editor of and the author of “The Frugal Investor’s Guide to Finding Great Stocks.” Write him at or follow him on Twitter via @JeffReevesIP. As of this writing, he did not own a position in any of the stocks named here.

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