stocks to watch

As 2012 comes to an end, it’s time to take a look at this year’s worst-performing stocks in the market. With one day left for trading, the S&P 500 (NYSE:S&P Indices:.INX) is up in the mid single digits for the year for the year, but there are stocks that didn’t exactly follow this upward trend. The stocks include, big name tech, retail, for profits and others. Many of these stocks could easily be considered value traps. Here are the top 10 Worst Performing S&P 500 (NYSE:S&P Indices:.INX) Stocks followed by details about each (check out Top Ten S&P 500 Best Performing Stocks In 2012):

1. Apollo Group Inc (NASDAQ:APOL) -62.02%

2. Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NYSE:AMD) -57.78%

3. Best Buy Co., Inc. (NYSE:BBY) -51.69%

4. Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) -46.89%

5. J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP) -46.03%

6. Pitney Bowes Inc. (NYSE:PBI) -43.85%

7. Cliffs Natural Resources Inc (NYSE:CLF) -42.94%

8. Allegheny Technologies Incorporated (NYSE:ATI) -38.97%

9. Tyco International Ltd. (NYSE:TYC) -38.84%

10. Exelon Corporation (NYSE:EXC) -33

Here are brief overview for the top 5 worst-performing stocks.

This year Apollo Group Inc (NASDAQ:APOL), an educational company and owner of the online University of Phoenix, was affected by the clampdown on the for-profit education sector’s student loans.

The 20 analysts following the company may have been surprised by this fall, as reported the Wall Street Journal, one year ago 12 of them gave the stock a “Buy” rating with eight handing out a “Hold” rating. Nope, no one had suggested selling the stock.

As for Cliffs Natural Resources Inc (NYSE:CLF), its demise came from declining iron ore prices. And again, of the 61 analysts who follow this stock, not one recommend selling it.

For J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP), its struggles took place all year long with its CEO saying in August that “We will stay the course” after its Q2 had bad numbers. In its recent third quarter earnings, comparable store sales dropped 26.1 percent and total sales fell 26.6 percent. Internet sales via dropped 37.3 percent year-over-year.

Similar to J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP) trying to find success with a turnaround, the same is part of the story for both Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) and Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NYSE:AMD) this year. Thanks to the allure of tablets and other mobile devices, consumers have kicked PC sales to the curb. While Advanced Micro has found some mobile success, these two companies also hit the ground with a loud thud.

Not helping matters for Hewlett is Friday’s news that Department of Justice is investigating its Autonomy unit. The company has allegedly been cooking its numbers. On Friday, the stock dropped 2.56% to $13.68.

And lost in all the technology chatter is Best Buy. After kicking off the year with a Super Bowl ad campaign for its “Guaranteed Buyback” program that flopped, the year continued to go downhill.

Best Buy Co., Inc. (NYSE:BBY)’s CEO Brian Dunn saw a bad year coming and resigned in April.

In November after being accused by the firm TechForward of stealing proprietary software designs and then dropping the company two months later, the big box retailer saw a California jury award the small firm $22 million in damages.