February's worst stock was energy firm ONEOK, with a 13.7% loss. It's important to note that ONEOK in February split off its natural gas distribution business into a public company called ONE Gas. ONEOK investors kept their shares, but received a share of ONE Gas for every share of ONEOK they owned, which explains the big drop in ONEOK shares. Plus there's little consolation: The next biggest declining stock for February after ONEOK was Cabot Oil & Gas, which didn't do much better by falling 12.5% in the month.
Then in March, video streamer Netflix dropped 21%. And in April, robot surgery company Intuitive Surgical (ISRG) dropped 17.4%. Lender Navient fell 38.6% in May and in June handbag maker Coach dropped 16%. And so far in the month of July, energy firm NRG is down 14.3%.
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Add it all up, and owning the worst stock for each month for seven months this year would have spelled an 85% loss. In dollar terms, that means a $10,000 initial investment would be shredded to roughly $1,500. Ouch.
It can be fairly pointed out that for long-term investors, such short-term moves aren't all that meaningful. Four of the seven deadly monthly stocks are actually up for the year. Intuitive Surgical, despite the brutal April, is up 21% this year. And many professional traders know to cut their losses once they hit 10% or more of what they paid. How many investors could have endured the April beat-down and not bailed out?