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Winners:
 Radica Games
 Metal Management
 Trans World
    Entertainment
 Reliability Inc.
 Arterial Vascular
    Engineering
 Spire Corp.
 Jackson Hewitt
 MindSpring Ent.
Losers:
 ATC Communications
 Data Race Inc.
 Cellular Technical
    Services
 Boyds Wheels
 Manhattan Bagel
 TriTeal Corp.
 Specialty Finance
    Companies

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The Best and Worst
Stocks of 1997

12/19/97

Pretty soon, dear Fool, you will be besieged by listings of the best and worst stock performers of 1997. Unfortunately, very few of these lists will give you anything resembling color. Rather than informing you of the actual facts and figures beyond the miraculous ascensions or crushing defeats witnessed throughout the year, instead you will be stuck with a dry recitation of company names, ticker symbols, and percentage gains or losses.

No more! As these huge moves often offer the most insight into the powerful forces that actually cause investors to change how they value living, breathing businesses, we offer our "The Best and Worst Stocks of 1997" for your edification and amusement. This will give you the straight poop on why Radica Games (Nasdaq: RADAF) powered ahead 1037% since January 1and why investors in Manhattan Bagel (Nasdaq: BGLSQ) lost 90 cents of every dollar invested on January 1.

Understanding why stocks change in price is absolutely key to anticipating how stocks might change in price in the future. Although Santayana is much over-quoted on this one point, we think his most famous line bears reiteration (and a slight subversion) in this instance -- Those who don't know why stocks rise or fall are doomed to miss opportunities and lose money.

With this single goal in mind, we offer you a list of the 17-some good and bad performers this year and what made them tick. For the purposes of our study, we picked eight top performers and nine bottom performers as of December 15th. Although they may not sit in exactly the same place at year-end, these are still among the biggest movers of the year. These are the investment stories that investors should examine closely.

--Randy Befumo, Senior Analyst

_______________

More Foolish Stock Analysis For 1998

The Motley Fool is proud to offer its annual analysis of industries and stocks to watch for 1998. Twenty of the most promising stocks in twenty of the most promising industries. Click here for details and ordering information.

 

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