Monday'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 Monday:

Company

Closing Price

CAPS Rating (out of 5)

% Change

52-Week Range

PNM Resources (NYSE:PNM)

$14.32

***

(24.83%)

$13.31-$34.28

LCA-Vision (NASDAQ:LCAV)

$14.20

****

(17.59%)

$13.54-$50.69

Brown & Brown (NYSE:BRO)

$19.00

****

(15.82%)

$18.73-$29.15

Syntax-Brillian (NASDAQ:BRLC)

$1.94

***

(14.54%)

$1.88-$9.08

WebMD (NASDAQ:WBMD)

$28.83

*

(10.19%)

$28.50-$63.49

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

Naughty?
Well, OK, we can't exactly call these stocks naughty. There are days when five-star winners and newsletter recommendations appear here.

But, if you're an investor, you'll have plenty of bad days. The trick is to avoid dating -- or, worse, marrying -- your losers. That's why I listen when our 83,000-person-strong Motley Fool CAPS community of stock pickers speaks with a poor rating or a negative pitch. You should too.

Thus, here is today's list of the worst stocks in the world.

Worse
We begin with LCA-Vision, which reported doing fewer procedures in its fourth quarter and admitted that 2008 won't be such a great year. Quoting CEO Steve Straus in a company statement:

We expect the U.S. economy, including its impact on consumer spending habits and our industry, to continue to be challenging throughout 2008, and we estimate that industry procedure volumes could decline by more than 10 percent. [Emphasis added.]

So, what, call you again when the sky is blue, the birds are singing, and consumers' wallets are bursting forth with disposable cash? Yeesh.

Worser
Next up is energy supplier PNM Resources, which, at a time when power demand is soaring, took an $0.18-per-share hit to earnings for the stark underperformance of three of its New Mexico plants. Quoting CEO Jeff Sterba from a company statement:

Our track record of providing strong total shareholder returns did not extend through to 2007. This is mainly due to rates in our New Mexico utility being well below the cost of providing service and absence of a fuel-adjustment clause, which would allow the recovery of substantially higher fuel and purchase power costs caused by rising fuel prices, increased loads and variability in base load generation availability. Clearly, our pending electric rate case in New Mexico is a crucial component of our efforts to restore the company's healthy financial performance. [Emphasis added.]

You think?

Worst
But our winner is WebMD, which copped to lower growth for 2008, thanks to a variety of factors, including -- get this -- Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) potential acquisition of Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO  ) . Quoting a company statement: "A more conservative outlook associated with our display advertising distribution agreement with Yahoo!, based on the potential acquisition of their business."

OK, I can see how that might be a problem. Mr. Softy could change the terms for serving ads to WebMD.com browsers or (gulp) scrap the deal altogether. (Ads accounted for two-thirds of the company's revenue through the first nine months of 2007.)

But WebMD may be angling for a fall guy. Here's why: Long before Yahoo! arrived in October, the company had a multi-year programming and advertising deal with Time Warner. And yet, in its latest 10-K annual filing, WebMD says that no single entity accounted for more than 10% of revenue or accounts receivable in 2006, 2005, or 2004.

Hmmmmmm. (Scratches head.) WebMD cites plenty of legit reasons for a light 2008. But, from what I can tell, the would-be coupling of Yahoo! and Microsoft isn't one of them.

WebMD and its finger-pointing management team ... Monday'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.


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