With 2013 drawing to a close, we’re taking a moment to reflect on the biggest moves seen by commodity investors over the past year on Wall Street. Last week, we profiled the best performing commodity stocks of the year; this list was largely dominated by U.S. oil & gas companies as the domestic energy boom took root in 2013. While some commodity producers managed to rake in stellar triple-digit gains, most fell on the other end of the performance spectrum and struggled to rally amid 2013′s bull market [for more commodity news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
Sluggish growth prospects in China coupled with uncertainty surrounding the timing and magnitude of the Fed taper at home have served, and remain, as two key headwinds for commodity investors looking ahead to 2014.
Below, we outline the five worst performing commodity stocks of 2013 based on YTD returns as of 12/17/2013; please also note that this list excludes stocks with a share price below $10 and an average volume below 1 million shares in an effort to focus only on the most liquid investments:
1. Compania de Minas Buenaventura (BVN) Down 68%
This Peruvian precious metals-miner took a big hit in 2013 as slumping gold and silver prices diminished its profitability to worrisome levels, further prompting more investors to pull out amid the steadily declining stock price. BVN struggled to hold its ground at $35 a share in the beginning of the year and declining revenues coupled with a shrinking profit margin sank this stock to nearly $10 a share by the end of 2013.
2. AngloGold Ashanti (AU) Down 62%
This South Africa-based gold miner failed to escape the bearish pressures that permeated the precious metals market at the start of the year. In addition to the yellow metal, the company also produces uranium, silver, and sulfuric acid, although this diversification across mining operations did little to aid its sinking share price.
3. Walter Energy (WLT) Down 59%
This Alabama-based coal producer fell alongside the other two gold miners since the start of 2013, although for slightly different reasons. China’s economic slowdown has resulted in decreased infrastructure spending and consumption of durable goods, thereby leading to a decline in steel demand; this in turn took its toll on Walter Energy, seeing as how the company operates as an exporter of metallurgical coals for the global steel industry.
4. Coeur Mining (CDE) Down 58%
This Idaho-based silver miner sank with the gold miners as declining precious metals prices leeched revenues away from the company. Coeur Mining recently completed the acquisition of Global Royalty Corp, a mineral resource company, and it currently operates in Mexico, Bolivia, Argentina, and Australia in addition to its assets located at home.
5. Barrick Gold Corporation (ABX) Down 50%
This Ontario-based gold mining behemoth failed to escape the rampant selling pressures permeating the commodity front throughout the entire year. Barrick’s dominance in the gold mining industry didn’t do much in helping its stock keep afloat amid the selling pressures; ABX started the year around $35 a share and sank as low as $13.43 a share on 7/5/2013.
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.