Best and Worst Investments of 2012

By Ben Steverman - 2012-12-12T21:04:13Z

Photograph by Paul Taylor/Getty Images

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The Year's Winners and Losers

If people were investments, 2012's champion would be a whiskey-drinking Venezuelan who sells pharmaceuticals to teenagers. The year's biggest loser would be a coffee-drinking social-media addict from Spain.

That's one interpretation, anyway, from's tally of the year's best and worst investments. Click ahead to learn why homebuilders and wheat farmers prospered in 2012, while coal miners and self-described "prudent bears" did not.

(Data compiled by Bloomberg from Dec. 31, 2011 to Dec. 1, 2012. Where applicable, assets were compared based on total return, which includes both price changes and dividend yields.)