We’ve looked at the big winners in the stock markets in recent weeks. Now here are the losers: the stocks in the Russell 3000 that have dropped the most in 2012 (through December 17):
10. Gastar Exploration Ltd. (GST) down 74.0 percent
Gastar has an odd story: After a positive earnings reports back in April, the oil and gas producer based in Houston lost 20 percent off its share price in a week. One theory was that Chesapeake Energy, which owned a big chunk of Gastar, had begun selling off its stock for reasons of its own, but whatever the cause, Gastar never recovered. By October, Chesapeake had sued Gastar, and Gastar had lost more than half its value in the space of six months.
9. Emerald Oil (EOX) down 74.3 percent
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Based in Denver, Emerald began the year as Voyager Oil & Gas. As Voyager, the stock was up more than 30 percent by late February, when it purchased a huge acreage in the Bakken Shale. As the value of that land became less and less apparent, the stock slowly faded away over the course of the year. Voyager acquired Emerald, a subsidiary of an Australian gas company, over the summer, then decided to keep the Emerald name. In October, the newly branded company announced a 1 for 7 reverse stock split, which is never a good sign.
8. Groupon (GRPN) down 74.4 percent
Groupon’s troubles started on March 30, when it was forced to announce that losses for the fourth quarter of 2011 hadn’t been $42.7 million, as initially reported, but actually $64.9 million. It seems the company hadn’t accounted for customer refunds. The company lost 17 percent of its value in a single day, and by the first of September was off 83 percent from its February peak.
7. Radio Shack (RSH) down 74.9 percent
On January 30, Radio Shack issued a disappointing earnings forecast, signaling that the company would come in at 11 to 13 cents per share for the fourth quarter of 2011, rather than the 37 cents Wall Street was expecting. The Fort Worth, Texas, based retailer lost 30 percent of its value that day. By late November, the share price, which had been in the low 20s as recently as 2010, was down under 2.
6. OCZ Technology Group (OCZ) down 75.9 percent
OCZ is a manufacturer of solid state drives for computers based in San Jose, California. After turning away a takeover offer from Seagate, the company had to delay shipments for its flagship product, the Vector SSD. Then on October 10, OCZ notified the SEC that it wouldn’t be able to file its earnings report on time, adding that it would have a significant loss in the second quarter. The market doesn’t take too kindly to these sorts of things, and the stock fell 42 percent in one day.
5. Amyris, Inc. (AMRS) down 75.9 percent