Thursday's Worst Stocks in the World

Bad days. We all have them; some of us deserve them.

Here are five stocks whose naughty ways drew investors' scorn on Thursday:

Company

Closing Price

CAPS Rating

(5 max)

%

Change

52-Week

Range

Rite Aid (NYSE:RAD)

$2.80

**

(31.71%)

$2.71-$6.74

MBIA (NYSE:MBI)

$19.95

*

(26.17%)

$18.84-$76.02

Ruby Tuesday (NYSE:RT)

$10.32

*

(11.42%)

$10.20-$30.80

Landry's Restaurants (NYSE:LNY)

$20.85

*

(4.97%)

$20.28-$32.30

Altus Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ALTU)

$5.50

*

(44.33%)

$4.80-$20.50

Sources: The Wall Street Journal, Yahoo! Finance, Motley Fool CAPS.

Naughty?
Well, OK, we can't exactly call these stocks naughty. But none of them gets much love from our 78,000-person-strong Motley Fool CAPS community of amateur and professional stock pickers.

To the contrary -- when it comes to these stocks, CAPS investors have gone thumbs down more often than film critic Roger Ebert. They don't believe that any of these stocks is worth owning, and they think some may be worth shorting.

Which of today's candidates is worst? Read on, dear Fool.

Worse
We begin with Ruby Tuesday, which has been a guest in this column before. On Thursday, the restaurant chain reported awful comps. Quoting from the company's press release:

Ruby Tuesday today reported that preliminary second quarter fiscal 2008 same-restaurant sales decreased 10.8% and 8.7% at Company-owned and domestic franchise restaurants, respectively as compared to a decrease of 0.2% at Company-owned restaurants and an increase of 4.0% at domestic franchise restaurants in the second quarter of the prior fiscal year. [Emphasis added.]

Awful, right? It gets worse. Ruby Tuesday makes our list because, barely two months ago, management told investors to expect a 6% to 8% decline in same-store sales.

Translation: Business is so bad that management not only can't stop the bleeding, it doesn't appear to know where the bleeding is.

Worser
Next up is Altus Pharmaceuticals, which yesterday lost a partnership agreement with Genentech (NYSE: DNA  ) for its hormone replacement therapy, ALTU-238.

But it's actually worse than that. Genentech, you see, was the only major pharmaceutical firm to team with Altus on any of its three in-trial therapies. (Altus has two other medicines in pre-trial development.)

You biotech investors know what that means. Altus has roughly $150 million in net cash, yet it burned through $45 million in capital over the trailing 12 months. Now it seems destined to dilute existing owners with another hat-in-hand trip to the capital markets.

Worst
But our winner is mortgage insurer MBIA, which revealed Thursday that roughly 26%, or $8.1 billion worth, of the risky collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) it carries are what's known as CDOs-squared.

Confused? I don't blame you. Here's what you need to know: CDOs-squared are packages of CDOs. Think of it as owning one of those wooden, multi-layered Russian dolls. Go through enough layers and you'll get to the center. But you might not like what's there. Here, subprime debt populates many of the CDOs-squared MBIA insures.

MBIA and its CDO surprises make it Thursday's worst stock in the CAPS world.

Do you agree? Disagree? Let us know what you think by signing up for CAPS today. It's 100% free to participate.

I'll be back next week with more stock horror stories.


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