The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Paul R. La Monica. Other than Time Warner, the parent of CNNMoney, Abbott Laboratories and AbbVie, La Monica does not own positions in any individual stocks.
It's trick or treat time ... Wall Street style!
I usually use Halloween as an excuse to take a look at the year's best and worst stocks. I already wrote about Keurig Green Mountain (GMCR) on Thursday. It's a treat if you have it in your portfolio.
But Halloween is about being scared out of your wits. So it's much more fitting to look at the worst stocks, the ones with terrifying year-to-date charts.
Unsurprisingly, several of this year's biggest losers are oil drillers.
Each stock has fallen at least 30% ... which makes them among the 10 worst performers in the S&P 500 this year.
But there are some more well-known brand-name stocks that should have you screaming as if you were Jamie Lee Curtis fleeing Michael Myers. Here are five.
1. Ding-dong! If you see a trick-or-treater dressed like an Avon Lady, slam the door. Heck, that's what most people are doing.
Avon (AVP) is the worst stock in the S&P 500 this year, down more than 40%. The cosmetics company reported its latest results Thursday and they were grim. Sales fell 8%, missing forecasts.
2. Papa's got a brand new bag ... and it ain't from Coach. Coach (COH) is struggling to turn itself around. The handbag maker said earlier this week that sales fell 10% in the third quarter.
Consumers may still be hellbent for leather ... but they're buying it elsewhere. Competition from Michael Kors (KORS) and Kate Spade (KATE) has been brutal. Their stocks have taken a tumble this year too, but Coach has been hit the hardest.
3. The misfit toy stock. Sorry to any fans of Scandinavian group Aqua, but we're not living in a Barbie world anymore.
Mattel (MAT) shares have plunged this year along with Barbie sales. But it's not as if parents have stopped buying toys for their kids. Shares of Hasbro (HAS) are near an all-time high. Simply put, Hasbro has cooler toys that boys and girls want: NERF, My Little Pony, Star Wars and Transformers.
And it's going to get worse for Mattel (and better for Hasbro) soon. Mattel, currently the rights owner for toys tied to Disney's (DIS) Princess line of characters, is losing that deal to Hasbro in 2016 ... and that includes Elsa and Anna from "Frozen." Investors that haven't already done so may want to let Mattel go.
4. Rotten produce. Eating organic food is good for you. Investing in the company that made it popular for the masses? Not so much. Whole Foods (WFM) is a classic victim of its own success.
Whole Foods has acknowledged that it has to worry more about other retailers selling kale and quinoa for lower prices.
5. Put down the corporate credit card, Jeff! Amazon (AMZN) is a company that could be doing better. But CEO Jeff Bezos has chosen to sacrifice current profits in order to build for the future.
It's a strategy that has worked in the past. But investors are nervous that Bezos may be losing his Midas touch. The Fire Phone has been a failure. And losses are mounting as the company invests heavily in its cloud business.
Add in the fact that Amazon issued a less-than-stellar sales outlook for the fourth quarter and it's no wonder that the stock is one of the worst performers in CNNMoney's Tech 30 index this year.
Now it's worth noting that this year's tricks could be next year's treats. Edwards Lifesciences (EW), Intuitive Surgical (ISRG) and CenturyLink (CTL) have all bounced back sharply this year after a lousy 2013. But you have to do your homework.
Diamond Offshore was a loser last year. And last year's biggest S&P 500 laggard, Newmont Mining (NEM) is down again in 2014. Some dogs remain pooches.
Reader Comment of the Week! The Federal Reserve finally ended its quantitative easing program this week.
I tweeted about how well stocks have done since the bond purchases started. I'm glad that somebody caught my reference to a 1980s public service announcement.
So if QE is the egg, then are rate hikes the chicken? Because the egg came first, right? Or is it the other way around? Oh no.
Anyway, happy Halloween. Happy end of October. Here's hoping next month is less stormy for stocks. We don't want any cold November rain. Yup. I'm going there. Enjoy the next nine minutes of cheesy power ballad rock at its finest.
Marilyn Monroe famously said, "Give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world."
Coach could sure use better shoes to impress Wall Street. The company is going out of fashion quickly with investors.
Shares of Coach (COH) tanked nearly 10% Tuesday after the purse, shoe and accessory company reported worse than expected sales for its most recent quarter, especially in North America.
But Coach's woes aren't new. The stock is MOREHeather Long - Apr 29, 2014 3:11 PM ET
By Mark Thompson, CNNMoney International Editor
Manchester United have sacked their coach after a disastrous season, which means they'll miss out on Europe's lucrative Champions League next season.
David Moyes was appointed less than a year ago, when the club's most successful manager -- Alex Ferguson -- retired after 26 years.
Under Ferguson, the team had won the richest national soccer league for 13 of the last 21 years, and used the steady MOREmarkthompson2013 - Apr 22, 2014 12:40 PM ET
Coach is back in the game! Shares of the luxury handbag maker jumped 10% Tuesday after the company blew past earnings and revenue expectations thanks to solid sales growth around the world.
Overall revenue climbed 7% during the fiscal third quarter to $1.19 billion, with sales rising 7% in North America and 6% in international markets. Sales in China were among the strongest, climbing a whopping 40%.
"We're pleased with...the progress we're MOREHibah Yousuf - Apr 23, 2013 12:01 PM ET
"As you know in fashion, one day you're in. And the next day, you're out." That's one of Heidi Klum's catchphrases on "Project Runway." You can say the same about stocks. And for now, Ralph Lauren is decidedly in.
Shares of Ralph Lauren (RL) galloped (see what I did there) to a more than 7% gain on Wednesday after the company reported earnings that topped forecasts and issued a solid sales MOREPaul R. La Monica - Feb 6, 2013 12:08 PM ET
Retailers who were hoping for some holiday cheer have found coal in their stockings this year.
According to MasterCard's (MA) SpendingPulse report, retail sales leading up to Christmas rose a paltry 0.7% from last year, which wasn't exactly a stellar year for retailers either. And it was far below the 3% to 4% analysts had expected.
It's been a couple of tough months for retailers, no thanks to Superstorm Sandy. Sales fell MORECatherine Tymkiw - Dec 26, 2012 12:26 PM ET
Fossil's stock took a beating Tuesday, making it the second-worst performer on the S&P 500 (SPX) and Nasdaq (COMP), after the company reported weak revenue and cut back its sales outlook for the current quarter.
Fossil (FOSL) reported third-quarter sales of $684.2 million, falling short of the $713.1 million analysts had expected. Earnings fared better. Fossil beat earnings-per-share forecasts by 9 cents. But Europe, once again, reared its ugly head MORECatherine Tymkiw - Nov 6, 2012 12:30 PM ET
The luxury business is booming. Or at least it is for Michael Kors (KORS), the lifestyle brand founded by the Project Runway judge and fashion mogul of the same name.
In its second quarterly report as a public company, Michael Kors (the company) said earnings nearly tripled, easily surpassing forecasts. Sales surged 71% and the Hong Kong-based company also raised its outlook. Investors cheered the results. Shares of Michael Kors surged MOREBen Rooney - Aug 14, 2012 11:24 AM ET
Fossil shares soared more than 30% Tuesday, leading gains on the S&P 500 (SPX) and Nasdaq (COMP), after the company trounced earnings expectations and impressed investors with its profit forecast for the year.
Fossil (FOSL) reported a second-quarter profit of $57.3 million, or 92 cents per share, up almost 12% from a year ago. And revenue jumped 13% during the quarter.
The biggest sales increase came from Asia, where sales soared more MOREHibah Yousuf - Aug 7, 2012 1:46 PM ET
Put me in Coach (COH)? Not today. Shares of the luxury handbag maker plunged 15% Tuesday morning after the company reported that sales missed forecasts. Of particular concern is the fact that Coach's CEO pointed to sluggishness in North America. Coach indicated that its rivals are more aggressively discounting merchandise and that Coach is likely to step up with price cuts too.
Is that bad news for other luxury retailers? Perhaps. MOREPaul R. La Monica - Jul 31, 2012 9:50 AM ET
Not a member yet?Sign up now for a free account
|Sony doesn't know how but says 'The Interview' will be shown|
|Another blackout for Dish customers, this time Fox News|
|Sony exec fires back at President Obama|
|Justin Bieber just lost 3.5 million Instagram followers|
|Is the oil scare over for the stock market?|