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:

Company

Closing Price

CAPS Rating

(5 max)

%

Change

52-Week

Range

Progenics Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:PGNX)

$4.93

**

(63.62%)

$4.33-$27.59

IDT (NYSE:IDT)

$3.70

**

(35.09%)

$3.65-$13.08

DivX (NASDAQ:DIVX)

$7.18

**

(29.54%)

$6.12-$23.76

Alaska Air (NYSE:ALK)

$18.36

**

(18.40%)

$18.26-$40.10

Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV)

$11.49

**

(7.34%)

$11.02-$16.96

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 not today.

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 86,000-person-strong Motley Fool CAPS community of stock pickers speaks with a poor rating or a negative pitch.

Here is today's list of the worst stocks in the world.

Worse
We begin with Progenics Pharmaceuticals, whose drug methylnaltrexone, which is being developed in concert with Wyeth (NYSE: WYE  ) and is designed to treat constipation in patients who've endured colon surgery, failed a late-stage clinical trial. Quoting CEO Dr. Paul Maddon from a company statement:

Currently, we are conducting the necessary analyses to determine greater clarity regarding the outcome of this clinical study. Preliminary findings from this international study of 542 patients are inconsistent with the clinically meaningful results demonstrated in the 65-patient phase 2 study.

So the smaller sample is more meaningful than the larger one? I doubt Maddon is actually asserting that, even if it the quote appears ambiguous.

And even if he is, I'm not sure I blame him. Looking at Progenics' pipeline, methylnaltrexone is, by far, the closest to FDA approval.

Worser
Next up is DivX, a former guest in this column for its internal upheaval. Now, that uncertainty appears to be affecting its earnings outlook.

On Tuesday, after market close, the maker of compression software for digital media said it would earn between $0.44 and $0.52 per share after excluding one-time charges. Analysts, on average, had expected $0.67 a share.

Management blamed the shortfall on higher development costs and issues with transitioning customers acquired in its $22 million November deal for Germany's MainConcept.

And after that? Here's how CEO Kevin Hell put it in the press release:

In 2008, our focus will be on execution as we prudently invest to extend these exciting wins while closely managing profitability. DivX is emerging as the open alternative to Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) , giving consumers the freedom and control to enjoy digital video anywhere they choose.

Does that mean DivX now has to position against Apple? Excellent. Because that's worked out sooooo well for others in the media business.

Worst
But our winner -- and, as a shareholder, I hate saying this -- is Southwest Airlines, which grounded 38 aircraft yesterday and canceled 4% of its flights.

Blame the FAA. Or, better yet, management. Last week, the Feds announced that they would seek a $10.2 million penalty against Southwest for failing to inspect older planes and flying others that should have been grounded because of cracks on and around the fuselage.

It's reported that Southwest will contest the fine, but yesterday's developments aren't a good sign. Management said in a press release that it took action when a self-imposed investigation found an "ambiguity" related to "required testing" of some aircraft, which suggests that the FAA charges are spot-on.

Wonderful.

Southwest Airlines and its cracked inspections ... 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.


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