Track the companies that matter to you. It's FREE! Click one of these fan favorites to get started: Apple; Google; Ford.



Wednesday'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 Wednesday:


Closing Price

CAPS Rating
(out of 5)



National CineMedia (NASDAQ:NCMI)





VeriFone (NYSE:PAY)





BJ's Wholesale Club (NYSE:BJ)










Harte-Hanks (NYSE:HHS)





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

Well, OK, we can't exactly call these stocks naughty. But none of them gets much love from our 79,000-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 any of these stocks are worth owning, and they think some may be worth shorting.

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

We begin with VeriFone, which announced that it would have to delay its financial filings for its last three fiscal quarters until at least March.

But, of course, it's worse than that. VeriFone made serious errors in valuing inventory. So serious, in fact, that 80% of its pre-tax income could evaporate. Anyone else think investors would gladly wait for filings if they could get that 80% back?

Next up is Harte-Hanks, which was downgraded to "sell" by the All-Star analysts at Deutsche Bank over concerns about the company's direct-marketing business with newspapers.

The problem, apparently, is with Florida and California. Neither market is expected to recover before 2009, which won't help an already-ailing newspaper industry that depends on the sort of ads Harte-Hanks places for revenue.

No surprises there. McClatchy, whose key properties include The Miami Herald and The Sacramento Bee, suffered a -- wait for it -- loss of $1.3 billion in its last quarter after a massive writedown of goodwill.

But our winner is United Airlines parent UAL Corp. Why pick on United when US Airways (NYSE: LCC  ) and Northwest were also down heavily yesterday? United is special. According to FlightStats, United canceled four times as many flights at Chicago's O'Hare airport as its nearest competitor -- AMR's (NYSE: AMR  ) American -- from Dec. 23 to 31.

To be fair, Chicago is United's primary hub, whereas American operates mostly from Dallas. And it's not like most of these cancellations were voluntary. Winter weather in the Midwest has been atrocious.

But O'Hare is also a hub for American and, upon news of the curious cancellations, United's pilots accused the airline of skimping on staff. I'm not at all sure that's a fair criticism. (UAL says it has more pilots today than it had a year ago.) But the Chicago cancellations remain one of a very long list of incidents in which United has failed fliers.

And remember: this is the airline that stiffed pensioners and handed out bonuses -- not just to management, but to front-line employees -- even while underperforming its own customer-service metrics 75% of the time.

United and its unfriendly skies ... Wednesday'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 tomorrow with more stock horror stories.

Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (2)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Compare Brokers

Fool Disclosure

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 557734, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 5/31/2016 8:35:50 AM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Today's Market

updated 3 days ago Sponsored by:
DOW 17,873.22 44.93 0.25%
S&P 500 2,099.06 8.96 0.43%
NASD 4,933.51 0.00 0.00%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

5/27/2016 4:02 PM
HHS $1.04 Up +0.03 +2.97%
Harte-Hanks, Inc. CAPS Rating: *
PAY $26.68 Up +0.70 +2.69%
VeriFone Holdings,… CAPS Rating: ***
UAUA.DL $0.00 Down +0.00 +0.00%
UAL Corp CAPS Rating: *
AAMRQ.DL $0.00 Down +0.00 +0.00%
BJ.DL $0.00 Down +0.00 +0.00%
BJ's Wholesale Clu… CAPS Rating: ****
LCC $0.00 Down +0.00 +0.00%
US Airways Group,… CAPS Rating: *