December Duds: Best Buy Co Inc, Las Vegas Sands Corp., and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

Electronics dealer Best Buy Co Inc (NYSE:BBY), casino concern Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE:LVS), and retail blue chip Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) have historically tanked in December

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Dec 2, 2015 at 2:52 PM

Yesterday, we took a look at three stocks with a chance to take off in December, based on the past 10 years' worth of data. Today, as a follow-up to that article, we'll be look at another trio -- but this time, the focus is on equities that have historically struggled during the final month of the year.

Schaeffer's Senior Quantiative Analyst Rocky White provides a snapshot of these laggards on the chart immediately below. Beneath it, you'll find more in-depth commentary on electronics dealer Best Buy Co Inc (NYSE:BBY), casino concern Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE:LVS), and retail blue chip Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT).


Best Buy Co Inc (NYSE:BBY)

Over the past 10 years, BBY has put on one of the worst December performances around. Just twice has it finished the month higher, and on average, it's given back 3.5%. Of course, losses are commonplace for the shares, as they've surrendered 16.7% in 2015 to trade at $30.93 -- most recently hit by a poorly received earnings report.

For one reason or another, there are still bullish holdouts on BBY. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), the stock's 10-day call/put volume ratio of 1.60 outstrips 70% of all comparable readings from the past year. Elsewhere, 10 of 17 analysts rate BBY a "buy" or better. Should optimism wane, an unwinding of long calls and/or a round of downgrades could result in more selling pressure.


Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE:LVS)

LVS has given up ground in eight of the past 10 Decembers, with an average loss of 2.1% -- including an 8.7% drubbing in 2014. If past is precedent, the stock will extend its downward momentum this month, as it's already shed more than one-fifth of its value year-to-date, last seen at $45.72.

Option traders have seemingly dismissed this abysmal track record. LVS' 10-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX call/put volume ratio of 4.79 sits just 1 percentage points from a 12-month high. Plus, the stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.90 sits in the low 5th percentile of its annual range. Should these bulls begin to hit the exits, it could turn up the heat on LVS.


Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT)

WMT has historically embarrassed itself during the month of December, averaging a loss of 1.5% -- and advancing just three times in the past decade. Also, the shares have hardly been impressive this year, plunging almost 32% to trade at $58.66, ushered lower by their 10-week trendline.

On the sentiment front, traders have taken a glass-half-full approach toward WMT. The retailer's 10-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX call/put volume ratio of 2.70 ranks in the 64th percentile of its annual range. More extreme yet, the stock's SOIR of 0.51 registers south of 92% of comparable readings from the prior year. A capitulation among this optimistic bunch could spell headwinds for WMT.


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