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A laggard is a term used in finance to describe a stock, security, or company that is underperforming compared to its peers, industry, or the broader market. Typically, laggards are characterized by slow growth, low profits, or poor financial metrics, which contribute to their inability to keep pace with other investments. Investors may view laggards as potential investment opportunities for future growth, but they also bear the risk of continued underperformance.


The phonetic spelling of the keyword “Laggard” is: ˈlæɡərd

Key Takeaways

  1. Laggards are individuals who are resistant to or the last to adopt new ideas, practices, or innovative products.
  2. They typically value tradition, prefer familiar experiences, and tend to be skeptical about new innovations or changes.
  3. Laggards are an important group to consider for businesses and marketers as they can provide valuable insights into barriers to adoption and how to address them.


The term “Laggard” is important in business and finance as it refers to an entity, such as a stock, industry, or company that is underperforming or trailing behind its peers or the market as a whole. Understanding the concept of laggards is essential for investors and financial analysts, as it helps them identify weaker assets and evaluate the potential reasons for their underperformance. This assessment can assist in making informed decisions about whether to maintain, further invest, or divest from the laggard, based on its future growth potential or turn-around chances. Laggards also provide insight into broader market trends and sector dynamics, which can ultimately lead to more effective portfolio management and better risk-adjusted returns for investors.


In the world of finance and business, the term “laggard” plays a crucial role when assessing individual assets or sectors within a broader market context. Laggards are typically characterized as stocks, companies, or industries that underperform the market or their specific peer group during a given time period. Identifying laggards not only aids investors in making more informed decisions, but also helps them uncover potential opportunities. For instance, investors might analyze laggards to identify undervalued stocks, which could eventually result in better returns if market conditions become more favorable for the underperforming entity.

The purpose of tracking laggards in a portfolio or market is to gain insights into their behavior relative to current market trends or high-performing competitors. This allows investors to adjust their strategies accordingly, whether that means reevaluating allocation or making a calculated bet on future outperformance. Furthermore, analyzing laggards can provide valuable information about broader economic conditions by pointing toward struggling industries and sectors. In turn, this information can facilitate better decision-making for policymakers, economists, and financial market participants. Consequently, the identification and understanding of laggards serve as essential tools in various aspects of finance and business, from spotting potential investment opportunities to discerning the overall state of the economy.


A Laggard in the business/finance context refers to a company or a financial instrument that consistently underperforms in comparison to its industry peers or the overall market. Here are three real-world examples:

1. BlackBerry Limited (BB): Once a dominant player in the smartphone market, BlackBerry has struggled to keep up with competitors like Apple and Samsung. As a result, its market share and stock price have significantly declined, making it a laggard within the technology industry.

2. Sears Holdings Corporation (SHLDQ): Prior to filing for bankruptcy in 2018, Sears had been consistently underperforming in the retail sector for years. Failing to evolve with changing consumer preferences and the emergence of e-commerce giants like Amazon, Sears had lost its competitive edge, becoming a laggard in the retail industry.

3. General Electric (GE): General Electric, once a symbol of American industrial might, has struggled in recent years. With declining stock prices and underperformance in various business segments, such as energy and aviation, GE has become a laggard in comparison to industrial competitors like Siemens and Honeywell International.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What does the term “Laggard” mean in finance and business?

Laggard refers to a security, company, or industry that underperforms compared to its peers or the overall market. In other words, a laggard falls behind in terms of financial performance, growth, or other key metrics.

Can you provide an example of a laggard?

Sure! If the overall stock market has returned 10% over a year, and stock X has only returned 5%, then stock X can be considered a laggard as it has underperformed compared to the broader market.

Is a laggard always a bad investment choice?

Not necessarily. A laggard may present an investment opportunity if there is potential for the company or industry to improve performance over time due to changes in management, strategy, or market conditions. However, it’s essential to conduct thorough research and assess the risks involved before investing in a laggard.

Can a laggard turn into a market leader?

Yes, a laggard can become a market leader if it can identify and rectify the factors causing underperformance. This may involve new management, an innovative product or service, or acquiring a rival company to help boost growth and market share.

How do I identify a laggard in the market?

You can identify a laggard by comparing its performance metrics, such as revenue growth, earnings, and stock price appreciation, to those of its industry peers and the overall market. Financial news, analyst reports, and stock market data can help in identifying laggards.

Should I sell a stock if it becomes a laggard?

Deciding to sell a laggard stock depends on the reasons behind its underperformance and your expectations for the company’s future performance. If you believe the company has the potential to turn around its performance, you may choose to hold onto the stock. However, if the outlook is consistently negative, selling may be an option to consider. Always consult with a financial advisor before making investment decisions.

Related Finance Terms

  • Underperformance
  • Slow growth
  • Market laggard
  • Low return on investment
  • Outdated business model

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