Why I’m Sticking With My 3 Worst-Performing Stocks of 2019 So Far

I just checked to see how the stocks that I own are performing. It’s not something that I do very often, although I do keep close tabs on the business developments related to each of my positions. Despite the market downturn over the past few weeks, I was pleased to learn that my stocks are doing pretty well overall.

Eight of the 27 stocks that I own have delivered year-to-date gains of 20% or more. Another six are up by double-digit percentages. Overall, my portfolio is beating the S&P 500 index so far this year, 17% to 12%.

But I do have a few laggards. In fact, five of the stocks that I own are in negative territory. My three worst-performing stocks so far in 2019 are…

AbbVie (NYSE:ABBV)Editas Medicine(NASDAQ:EDIT), and Pfizer (NYSE:PFE). Am I ready to bail out on these stocks? Not at all. Here’s why I’m sticking with them.

Common denominators

You might have noticed that there’s a common denominator for my three worst stocks of the year: They’re all drug stocks. That isn’t surprising considering that the healthcare sector overall is performing well below the broader market indexes.

Quite frankly, the current environment isn’t a very good one for many healthcare stocks. I even floated the idea several weeks ago that this could be the most dangerous time ever to invest in healthcare.

Both Democrats and Republicans have targeted escalating prescription drug costs as a major issue to address. And a significant number of Democratic presidential candidates are promoting a single-payer healthcare system. Whatever you think about the merits of such a plan, there’s no question that it would result in a major upheaval for many healthcare companies, including drugmakers.

There’s another common denominator for AbbVie, Editas, and Pfizer. Each of these stocks delivered much higher returns in the recent past. In 2017, for example, AbbVie was one of my best-performing stocks, soaring more than 50%. That year Editas skyrocketed 89% (unfortunately, though, I didn’t own it then). And in 2018, Pfizer jumped nearly 21%, trouncing the S&P 500. So while they’re losers so far in 2019, they haven’t always been losers.

Unique twists

AbbVie, Editas, and Pfizer haven’t floundered so far this year just because of the political uncertainties related to the U.S. healthcare system. Each of these stocks also has its own unique reasons for underperforming.

In January, AbbVie posted…

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