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Tickers in this Article: NTRS, BBY, NEM, MON, BIIB
Since the market did so well in the second quarter of 2009, with the S&P 500 up more than 15%, most investors are probably under the impression that even a dart thrower could have made money. However, this list of large cap losers over the last three months proves otherwise.
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Northern Trust (Nasdaq:NTRS) was down 11% in the quarter. The bank was not one of the 19 banking institutions reviewed as part of the Supervisory Capital Assessment Program (SCAP), but the company did receive an investment last fall from the U.S. Treasury in the Capital Purchase Program (CPP) set up by the Bush Administration. Despite the lack of a government stamp of approval, Northern Trust has been anxious to pay back this money, and did so in June 2009. There doesn't seem to be any specific reason that Northern Trust trailed the market in the second quarter. Perhaps we should blame this one on profit taking as the bank nearly doubled off its lows reached in November, 2008.

Consumer electronics retailer Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) fell 13% during the quarter, but is still up 97% through the close on July 2, from its December low. The sell off may have been triggered by the market realization that Americans are saving now instead of spending, with the personal savings rate at 6.9% in May 2009, a 15-year high.

Pundits can't have it both ways. For years they complained that Americans were spendthrift consumers who overstretched themselves with rampant spending on credit cards and houses they couldn't afford. Now they're complaining that the economy can't recover unless we start spending again.

The performance of Newmont Mining (NYSE:NEM) is hard to analyze as the fundamentals of the industry play a role, along with the proclivity of many investors to use the stock of gold mining companies to hedge against the dollar. Long term, however, if the inflation fears held by some investors come true, the stock may outperform the market. The stock fell 9% during the second quarter of 2009.

Monsanto (NYSE:MON) was down 11% for the quarter. The company reported earnings in mid June 2009, and beat estimates, but announced that Roundup, its core product, would see its profits fall precipitously over the next few years as management positions the company into other businesses.

Biogen Idec (Nasdaq:BIIB) was heading for a positive return until late in June, when the company announced that a patient taking Tysabri, a drug to treat multiple sclerosis, contracted a fatal brain disease. This issue has plagued this drug before, and forced it off the market in 2005. The stock finished the quarter off 16%.

It was an easy quarter for many investors, both individual and professional, as the market returned nearly 16%. Despite this performance, stock picking skills are still important as many stocks failed to come through. Let's hope these five stocks weren't on anyone's list. (For more, check out Determining What Market Cap Suits Your Style.)

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