So far in 2013, we've seen the market basically tread water. After the huge fiscal cliff deal inspired buying in the first trading day of the year, the markets have drifted lower, and we are right about where we were when we started the year. Now, if we step back a bit and look at what's happened to stocks over the past six months, we see that stocks have enjoyed a very nice bullish run.

The broad measure of the biggest stocks in the domestic market, the S&P 500 index, has delivered a total return of 9.5% over the past half year (from July 11, 2012 through Jan. 11, 2013). That's very strong performance for a major average, and if you've been invested in the biggest winners in the index -- e.g., First Solar (Nasdaq: FSLR) +125.5%, Sprint Nextel (NYSE: S) +86.2%, PulteGroup (NYSE: PHM) +79.9% -- then you're likely a very happy trader.

Unfortunately, most of us have at least a few S&P 500 dogs in our portfolio, and by that I mean stocks that have woefully underperformed the overall index. These are stocks that you can't afford to sit around and wait for to make a comeback.

The table below shows the biggest losers in the S&P 500 over the past six months.



The list here reads like a who's who of large-cap tech, with Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ) and Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE: AMD) both registering big losses over the past six months. AMD's drop of 47.49% represents the single biggest loss on the S&P 500 since July 11, 2012.

One tech stock that just barely missed being in the bottom 15 is Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL). Once the must-own stock for traders and investors, Apple shares have had a dismal latter half of 2012, down 13.15% versus the S&P 500's gain of nearly 10%.

Other notable decliners on the list are discount retailers Ross Stores (Nasdaq: ROST), Family Dollar Stores (NYSE: FDO), Dollar General (NYSE: DG), Dollar Tree (Nasdaq: DLTR) and Big Lots (NYSE: BIG). The discount retail sector has not been where you want to shop with your trading capital, and until things turn around, it's best to avoid the sector.

Action to Take --> If you own the stocks on this list, then they represent a lot of underbrush in your portfolio. In order for you to clear the fields and move forward in 2013, you should probably sell now. Doing so will allow you to raise cash, and then reallocate that cash to companies with a better chance of achieving your trading profit goals.

This article originally appeared on ProfitableTrading.com:
15 Underperforming Stocks to Sell Today


Related Articles
  1. Investing News

    What You Can Learn from Carl Icahn's Mistakes

    Carl Icahn has been a stellar performer in the investment world for decades, but following his lead these days could be dangerous.
  2. Stock Analysis

    Analyzing Altria's Return on Equity (ROE) (MO)

    Learn about Altria Group's return on equity (ROE) and analyze net profit margin, asset turnover and financial leverage to determine what is causing its high ROE.
  3. Investing News

    Icahn's Bet on Cheniere Energy: Should You Follow?

    Investing legend Carl Icahn continues to lose money on Cheniere Energy, but he's increasing his stake. Should you follow his lead?
  4. Stock Analysis

    Analyzing Google's Return on Equity (ROE) (GOOGL)

    Learn about Alphabet's return on equity. How has its ROE changed over time, how does it compare to its peers and what factors are driving ROE for the company?
  5. Investing News

    Is Buffett's Bet on Oil Right for You? (XOM, PSX)

    Oil stocks are getting trounced, but Warren Buffett still likes one of them. Should you follow the leader?
  6. Investing News

    Chipotle Served with Criminal Probe

    Chipotle's beat muted expectations and got a clear bill from the CDC, but it now appears that an investigation into its E.coli breakout has expanded.
  7. Stock Analysis

    Analyzing Sprint Corp's Return on Equity (ROE) (S)

    Learn about Sprint's return on equity. Find out why its ROE is negative and how asset turnover and financial leverage impact ROE relative to Sprint's peers.
  8. Stock Analysis

    Why Alphabet is the Best of the 'FANGs' for 2016

    Alphabet just impressed the street, but is it the best FANG stock?
  9. Budgeting

    Plated Review, Is It Worth It?

    Take a closer look at the ready-to-cook meal service, Plated, and learn how the company can help you take the hassle out of home cooking.
  10. Investing News

    How China's Economy is Now Like America's

    China's economy could take the global economy down with it; why that might be good news in the grand scheme.
RELATED FAQS
  1. How do dividends affect retained earnings?

    When a company issues a cash dividend to its shareholders, the retained earnings listed on the balance sheet are reduced ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What is the difference between called-up share capital and paid-up share capital?

    The difference between called-up share capital and paid-up share capital is investors have already paid in full for paid-up ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Why would a corporation issue convertible bonds?

    A convertible bond represents a hybrid security that has bond and equity features; this type of bond allows the conversion ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. How does additional paid in capital affect retained earnings?

    Both additional paid-in capital and retained earnings are entries under the shareholders' equity section of a company's balance ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What types of capital are not considered share capital?

    The money a business uses to fund operations or growth is called capital, and there are a number of capital sources available. ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What is the difference between issued share capital and subscribed share capital?

    The difference between subscribed share capital and issued share capital is the former relates to the amount of stock for ... Read Full Answer >>
COMPANIES IN THIS ARTICLE
Trading Center