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January 3, 2012 > A look at stock market highs and lows in 2011

A look at stock market highs and lows in 2011

By The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP), Dec 30 - A look at the best and worst performers in the Dow Jones industrial average, which tracks 30 key U.S. companies; the biggest industry gainers and decliners in the broader S&P 500 index, which ended nearly flat for the year; and some companies that rattled investors in 2011.

BEST OF THE DOW

- McDonald's Corp., up 31 percent. The burger chain has remodeled stores and added healthier items to menus in the U.S. while expanding abroad.

- IBM Corp., up 25 percent. The 100-year-old tech company sells high-margin software and technology services that can help corporations and governments cut costs.

- Pfizer Inc., up 24 percent. The world's largest drugmaker has been advancing new drugs to offset generic competition for Lipitor, the biggest-selling drug in history.

WORST OF THE DOW

- Bank of America Corp., down 58 percent. One of the country's largest financial institutions is still dealing with fallout from the housing meltdown.

- Alcoa Inc., down 44 percent. The aluminum producer is a barometer for the health of the global economy. Investors worried about a slowdown in China and a prolonged debt crisis in Europe.

- Hewlett-Packard Co., down 39 percent. The PC and printer maker struggled with executive dysfunction and indecisiveness on whether to sell its low-margin PC business.

OTHER BIG MOVERS

- First Solar Inc., down 74 percent and worst in the S&P 500. Chinese companies are producing cheaper solar products while governments cut subsidies for alternative energy.

- Cabot Oil & Gas, up 101 percent and best in the S&P 500. The oil and gas company ramped up production, and lucrative natural gas reserves in the energy-rich Marcellus Shale bode well for its future.

- Netflix Inc., down 61 percent. The video company alienated subscribers with changes to prices and an ill-fated attempt to separate its streaming and DVD-by-mail businesses.

- Apple Inc., up 26 percent. The company's newest iPads and iPhones sold briskly while investors looked to new CEO Tim Cook to fill the shoes of Steve Jobs, who died in October.

THE TOP S&P INDUSTRY SECTORS

- Utilities, up 15 percent

- Consumer staples, up 10.5 percent

- Healthcare, up 10 percent

THE WORST S&P INDUSTRY SECTORS

- Financials, down 18 percent

- Materials, down 12 percent

- Industrials, down 3 percent

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