The Best- and Worst-Run U.S. Companies in 2011

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Technology is a fickle industry. One year ago, Groupon was the fastest growing company in U.S. history, Netflix was the darling of the online entertainment industry, and BlackBerry smartphones were still ubiquitous in the workplace. But this year, they're all among the worst-performing companies of 2011

In a year where Apple continued one of the great runs in modern history, many big public corporations nearly destroyed their business and dragged down shareholder value with it. 24/7 Wall St. combed through the S&P 500 to find the best and worst managed companies in America for 2011. Here they are:

To make a list of semifinalists, 24/7 Wall St. considered stock price, changes in earnings per share, major shifts in market share and changes in management, among other data. Once the initial screen was complete, we reviewed product launch success, financial results, success of new management and the performance of each company within its industry. The editors then sifted through the finalist to identify those that rewarded both customers and shareholders and those that caused these two groups the most harm.

Neither the best-run companies list nor the worst-run companies list includes a large number of corporations from any single industry. This indicates our methodology identifies well- and worst-managed companies regardless of the industry. Based on our criteria, the management of Starbucks did as good a job as the management of Oracle -- two of the best-run companies. Similarly, Eastman Kodak management did as poorly as the management of American Airline parent AMR -- two of the worst-run companies.

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Douglas A. McIntyre and Michael B. Sauter are editors of 24/7 Wall St., a Delaware-based financial news and opinion operation that produces content for sites including MarketWatch, DailyFinance, Yahoo! Finance, and TheStreet.com.

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