Best (And Worst) Channel Stocks Of 2011

Best (And Worst) Channel Stocks Of 2011

While it wasn't a great year on Wall Street -- the Dow Jones was up 5.5 percent while Nasdaq fell 1.8 percent during 2011 -- it was a pretty solid year for the stocks of channel companies. Of 13 companies surveyed by CRN, eight posted share-price gains during the year and five posted double-digit percentage gains. Here's a closer look at channel stocks for 2011, from worst to first:

13. PC Mall

Dec. 30, 2011: $6.28
Dec. 31, 2010: $7.57
Change: -17.0%

Last year on Wall Street will perhaps best be remembered for the massive selloff that occurred in August . A month later, PC Mall's shares traded at less than half they were worth in April. The El Segundo, Calif.-based e-tailer gained some momentum back toward the end of the year, but still finished the year worse than any other channel company surveyed by CRN.

12. GTSI

Dec. 30, 2011: $4.16
Dec. 31, 2010: $4.71
Change: -11.7%

GTSI shares were relatively stable during 2011, trading between $4 and $5 for most of the year. Unfortunately, the Chantilly, Va.-based VAR closed the year closer to $4 than $5. Meanwhile, the company continued to retool under CEO Sterling Phillipsas it added a new CTO, Jim Sweeney, and the COO, Jeremy Wensinger .

11. Avnet

Dec. 30, 2011: $31.09
Dec. 31, 2010: $33.03
Change: -5.9%

After the big August selloff, Avnet shares were trading below $25. The company hit the $30 mark again in late October and stayed above that plateau for good on Dec. 20, but still finished below its closing price at the end of 2010. On Oct. 27, Avnet announced earnings guidance higher than expected, impressing investors.

10. Ingram Micro

Dec. 30, 2011: $18.19
Dec. 31, 2010: $19.09
Change: -4.7%

Like many companies, Ingram Micro's 2011 financials were impacted by a soft economy in Europe and a recovering economy in North America. In late October, the Santa Ana, Calif.-based distributor also said a new ERP implementation in Australia impacted sales there.

9. Synnex

Dec. 30, 2011: $30.46
Dec. 31, 2010: $31.20
Change: -2.4%

Hewlett-Packard is Synnex's biggest vendor, but HP's turmoil surrounding a CEO change and the abandoned sale of its Personal Systems Group did not have any impact on Synnex's sales growth, said CEO Kevin Murai. Synnex's shares still fell slightly over the course of the year.

8. Sapient

Dec. 30, 2011: $12.60
Dec. 31, 2010: $12.10
Change: 4.1%

Sapient shares reached the $15 mark in early July before falling to $10 a month later. The company's stock rebounded over the last four months and becomes the first channel company here to post a share gain during 2011. The company also gave out a 35-cent dividend on Aug. 11 and was selected to construct the European DataWarehouse (ED), the first European central data repository for The Market Group in November.

Arrow Electronics

Dec. 30, 2011: $37.41
Dec. 31, 2010: $34.25
Change: 9.2%

Arrow shares traded for more than $45 in early May then fell below the $30 mark as recently as late September. In the fourth quarter, Arrow posted record 3Q numbers and also announced a new distribution deal with Juniper Networks.

6. Accenture

Dec. 30, 2011: $53.23
Dec. 31, 2010: $48.49
Change: 9.8%

Accenture rewarded investors with two dividends in 2011, totaling more than $1 per share. Investors rewarded back by raising the company's shares nearly 10 percent in 2011. In mid-December, Accenture posted solid financials that indicate an upswing for the company.

5. Tech Data

Dec. 30, 2011: $49.41
Dec. 31, 2010: $44.02
Change: 12.2%

Tech Data shares haven't reached the dizzying heights of more than $53 per share they reached in May, but they have rebounded nicely from their August low and closed 2011 up more than 12 percent. Last month, Tech Data said it planned to close Brazilian operations, a move that investors reacted to in a positive way.

4. ScanSource

Dec. 30, 2011: $36.00
Dec. 31, 2010: $31.90
Change: 12.9%

Unlike other channel companies in 2011, ScanSource seemed to save its best for last. Its Dec. 30 close of $36 was pennies off its fourth-quarter high mark. In late October, posted better-than-expected financials thanks to strong demand for its North American communications and security products.

3. Insight Enterprises

Dec. 30, 2011: $15.29
Dec. 31, 2010: $13.16
Change: 16.2%

Insight was one of the few companies that bucked the trend in August. Insight's shares increased slightly while everyone else seemed to be tanking. It wasn't just August. The VAR's stock increased more than 16 percent in 2011.

2. PC Connection

Dec. 30, 2011: $11.09
Dec. 31, 2010: $8.86
Change: 25.2%

PC Connection offered a 40-cent dividend to investors in November and the company's shares closed near a 52-week high. In August, PC Connection named longtime VAR executive Timothy McGrath to succeed Patricia Gallup as CEO.

1. Agilysys

Dec. 30, 2011: $7.95
Dec. 31, 2010: $5.63
Change: 41.2%

Agilysys shares shot up more than $2 per share on May 31 after selling its Technology Solutions Group business for $64 million to OnX Enterprise Solutions to focus on retail and hospitality solutions. Since that time, shares increased another dollar per share to close up more than 40 percent for the year and earn Agilysys the title of highest-growing channel stock of 2011.