These 3 states house the 'ugliest' S&P stocks

Just about every state can brag about its good looking stocks, especially Idaho and Connecticut. But some states are having a tougher time finding the fairest of the land.

Shares of companies based in three states, South Carolina, Arizona and Louisiana, are posting average gains of less than 10% over the past year, according to a USA TODAY analysis of data from S&P Capital IQ. The universe is limited to stocks in the S&P 500.


A trader holds his head in his hand on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York.
Scott Eelis | Bloomberg | Getty Images
A trader holds his head in his hand on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York.

True, a 10% gain might not sound that bad, until you realize that the Standard & Poor's 500 is up roughly 19% over the same time period.

When it comes to ugly, South Carolina is the champ. The average return of the state's stocks is 3.5%. That's because the state is home to just one S&P 500 stock, utility SCANA, which is seeing its shares lag the S&P 500.

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Investors who want to see states with more companies in them before pronouncing them ugly might consider Arizona as a contender. The state is home to six S&P 500 companies, and those stocks are up just 9.5% over the past 12 months on average. The biggest loser in Arizona has been Murphy Oil, which has seen its shares sink 1.4%.

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Below are the five states with the lowest stock performance over the past 12 months:

Lowest performance over past 12 months

State S&P 500 cos. in state Average 12-month performance
South Carolina 1 3.50%
Arizona 6 9.50%
Louisiana 2 9.60%
Utah 1 10.60%
Nevada 2 11.90%
S&P Capital IQ, USA Today research