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5 Surprises and 5 Disappointments of 2012

Where the year provided delights and let us down

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2012’s Disappointments:

1. Apple so dominated the conversation that I suppose anything on the downside would be viewed as a disappointment. But this much was true: Apple at $1,000 a share not only didn’t come true, but many are now expecting Apple to hit $500 first.

What happened? It’s hard to keep up with such torrid growth and expectations, and probably lots of money managers (and smart investors, unlike me) took some profit off the table at opportune times.

2. Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) made so many mistakes that it can only be viewed as the mess it is today, after losing 46% of its value year-to-date. Where to start? Anywhere: Layoffs didn’t help, an $8 billion write-off of a prior investment was embarrassing and sticking with low-margin businesses in printing and hardware can’t last much longer. If you don’t think the latter is the case, keep an eye in 2013 on Dell (NASDAQ:DELL), which may see the same results.

3. Avon (NYSE:AVP) ladies are still calling, but not many women are answering the door. The stock is down 20% on the year, and it has recently announced plans to slash jobs and exit two Asian markets. More cost-cutting is likely in the works, and with its dividend cut nearly 75%, there isn’t much room for improvement in either earnings or stock price in the coming year.

New CEO Sheri McCoy came in just as the company rejected a $10 billion bid from Coty, and she might be hoping it’ll come back to the table soon. Um, not likely.

4. Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) shareholders must want to cry about an offer that never happened. Founder and former CEO Richard Schultze “offered” to buy the company for between $24 to $26 per share back in the spring. Was it a real offer or just a feeler? We’ll never know because it went nowhere.

Guess what? That price looks totally unrealistic today. At best — meaning if Schultze and his group can find anyone to help finance this mess — investors might be looking at $15 per share. The stock is off over 50% year-to-date, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see it fall more right up until February, when Schultze is supposed to provide a formal figure.

5. The Fiscal Cliff is a bit of absurdist monomaniacal theater among politicians that should have everyone pissed off. Seriously? We can’t figure out how to manage our country? The same folks who preach about how “kitchen table” issues are front and center can’t come to grips with exactly what people at the kitchen table figure out: how to manage their money.

Did they learn nothing from the debt ceiling debacle in 2011? This is truly a bitter disappointment.

Marc Bastow is an Assistant Editor at As of this writing he is long AAPL and VZ.

Article printed from InvestorPlace Media,

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