Walgreens is Dow's worst-performing stock of 2019

Walgreens has been the worst performer on the Dow this year, losing 15.3 percent to date compared to the Dow Jones Index's 20.61 percent rise, according to Nasdaq.com

The poor performance can be attributed to several factors, including rising prescription drug costs, pressure from outside competitors and more FDA regulation. 

More than 3,400 prescription drug prices were increased in the first six months of the year, a 17 percent increase from 2018, according to CBS News. The price hikes have caused patients to replace their prescriptions with lower-cost generics.

Walgreens also faces increasing pressure from Walmart, Costco and Dollar General, which are offering the same products as Walgreens both online and in stores at much cheaper rates, according to Nasdaq

The retail giant has also faced stricter FDA regulations of its tobacco and e-cigarette sales. In February, the FDA put Walgreens "on notice" for allegedly selling tobacco products to minors at almost 1,400 stores. It also stopped selling tobacco at some of its stores after facing pressure from federal regulators, and raised its tobacco-buying age to 21. 

Brexit has caused a drop in sales at Walgreens stores in the U.K., according to Nasdaq

Walgreens poor performance has caused it to reportedly consider taking the company private, and private equity firm KKR & Co. made a formal offer to buy Walgreens in November. The offer prompted a 6 percent hike in Walgreens stock in the days after the offer, but the stock quickly fell again after analysts questioned the feasibility of such a massive deal, according to Nasdaq

Walgreens, which has a market cap of $51.51 billion, has taken a number of steps to  improve the company's performance in 2020, including deals with Verily, Kroger, FedEx and LabCorp, according to Nasdaq

Nasdaq also predicted that Walgreens would benefit if House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's signature drug-pricing bill, which was passed by the House Dec. 12, is signed into law. 

Read the full article here

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