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Investors Lose $201 Billion On These 7 Giant Losers This Year

Losing money in the S&P 500 is never fun. But it stings all the more when everyone else is making tons on their stocks.




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Seven S&P 500 stocks, including PayPal Holdings (PYPL), Walt Disney (DIS) and AT&T (T), cost investors more than $200 billion in lost market value this year, says an Investor’s Business Daily analysis of data from S&P Global Market Intelligence and MarketSmith. Each of them shed $18 billion, or more, in value individually this year.

Losing money stings all the more in 2021. Thanks to a powerful 27.5% jump by the S&P 500 this year alone, companies in the index added more than $9 trillion to investors’ portfolios. But not if you held these unlucky seven stocks.

Losing Money In The S&P 500 Was Hard To Do

Investors who lost money in S&P 500 stocks won’t have many shoulders to cry on. It was actually really tough to lose money in 2021.

Just 73 S&P 500 stocks, or roughly 15%, shed market value in 2021. And big losses were even harder to find. Only 13 stocks in the S&P 500 suffered market value drops of more than $10 billion.

On a straight percentage loss basis, losing money took some bad luck, too. Only 22 S&P 500 companies, accounting for just 4% of the index, dropped by 15% of more in 2022.

S&P 500 Tech: Not All Sunshine And Unicorns

It’s been a great year for S&P 500 tech stocks, mostly. The Technology Select Sector SPDR (XLK) is up 35.2% this year. But the sector has had its share of misfires, too.

Online payments company PayPal Holdings is the No. 1 loser of market value in 2021 in the S&P 500 this year. And it’s also part of the S&P 500 technology sector. With its shares sinking nearly 19% in 2021 to 190.10, that erased nearly $48 billion in market value.

PayPal’s sinking market value isn’t due to any weakness in fundamental growth. The company is on pace to earn $4.61 a share in 2021, a nearly 19% jump from 2020. Analysts, too, seem to be caught off-guard by the shares’ weakness. They rate PayPal with an “outperform” rating with a 12-month price target of 274.81. If they’re right, the stock is undervalued by nearly 30%.

But PayPal isn’t the only disappointing tech stock this year.

Global Payments (GPN), which provides payment processing know-how to other companies, has seen its shares drop by nearly 38% this year to 135.15. That crashed wiped more than $23 billion off its market value in 2021. Analysts, again, think it’s underrated. They’re calling for the stock to trade at 191.43 a share in 12 months. That’s roughly 40% upside.

Disappointment In The Happiest Place On Earth

Disney, too, hasn’t worked out the way many S&P 500 investors might have planned.

It’s down more than 14% this year to 155.20, erasing more than $45 billion in market value. It’s also the worst stock in the Dow Jones Industrial Average this year. And all this is a bit of a surprise as hopes were high for the company’s profit upon the reopening of theme parks in 2021. Profit for the fiscal year ended in September 2022 is seen jumping more than 75%.

At least Disney, though, has company among stocks underperforming in 2021 in the communications sector. Four of the seven stocks with the largest drops in market value this year all hail from the sector. AT&T, too, has languished again this year. It’s down nearly 14% this year, wiping out not only its dividend, but $25 billion in market value.

But some of these stocks could redeem themselves in 2022. Disney, for one, is one of the S&P 500 stocks known to be a top performer during the annual Santa Claus Rally. Should you buy Disney stock now? Just be glad you didn’t buy it this year.

Biggest S&P 500 Duds In 2021

Lost the most in market value this year

CompanySymbolMarket value change (2021), in $ billionsYTD stock % ch.Sector
PayPal Holdings (PYPL)-$47.9-18.8%Information Technology
Walt Disney (DIS)-45.9-14.3Communication Services
AT&T (T)-25.8-13.7Communication Services
Global Payments (GPN)-23.7-37.3Information Technology
Fidelity National Information Services (FIS)-20.0-22.7Information Technology
Verizon Communications (VZ)-19.3-10.3Communication Services
Activision Blizzard (ATVI)-18.8-28.2Communication Services
Source: S&P Global Market Intelligence

Follow Matt Krantz on Twitter @mattkrantz

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