Tuesday'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 Tuesday:


Closing Price

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SiRF Technology (NASDAQ:SIRF)





Irwin Financial (NYSE:IFC)





Symmetry Medical (NYSE:SMA)





Biovail (NYSE:BVF)





Clear Channel (NYSE:CCU)





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

Well, OK, we can't exactly call these stocks naughty. There are days when five-star winners and newsletter recommendations appear here. Today isn't one of those days.

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 93,000-person-strong Motley Fool CAPS community of stock pickers speaks with a poor rating or a negative pitch. You should listen, too.

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

We begin with SiRF Technology, whose chips Garmin (Nasdaq: GRMN  ) relies on for some of its global positioning devices and which on Tuesday admitted that its fourth-quarter revenue would come in well below Street estimates.

And I do mean "well below." SiRF revised its first-quarter revenue projections from a range of $71 million to $77 million to a lower range of $60 million to $62 million. This news follows an awful fourth-quarter report that formed the base of the slope that shares of SiRF are still sliding down. The crash, when it finally comes, could be uglier than the one suffered by immortal ski jumper Vinko Bogataj, which became the symbol for "the agony of defeat" in the opener to ABC's Wide World of Sports.

Next up is Irwin Financial, which raised its projected fourth-quarter loss by $10 million. The culprit? An increase in loan defaults.

But some of our top CAPS players weren't surprised. Here's All-Star Ihavegas making a bearish call last May: "The fundamentals just aren't there -- even if they are taking steps in the right direction, the timeframe for these changes to reflect in the stock price will be significant."

Good call. And it's vindicated by Irwin's recently filed 10-K annual report, in which the company says a majority of the home-equity loans it originated could be considered high-risk:

We offer home equity loans with combined loan-to-value (CLTV) ratios of up to 125% of their collateral value. Home equity loans are priced using a proprietary model, taking into account, among other factors, the credit history of our customer and the relative loan-to-value (LTV) ratio of the loan at origination. For the year ended December 31, 2007, home equity loans with loan-to-value ratios greater than 100% (high LTVs, or HLTVs) made up 51% of our loan originations and 55% of our managed portfolio.

Yeah ... I'll pass, thanks.

But our winner is biotech Biovail, which on Monday said that it had settled, at a cost of $10 million, some charges the SEC leveled against it years ago. (An investigation of current and former Biovail executives continues.)

Investors reacted positively to the news and sent the stock 4.6% higher. But then, yesterday, Biovail gave back all of its gains and then some. Surely some of that drop should be attributed to a rough day on the market. But Foolish colleague Brian Orelli raised other concerns that, frankly, I find troubling:

Unfortunately, Biovail's troubles extend beyond the SEC investigation. Revenue dropped 21% last year, thanks to Wellbutrin XL's generic competition from Teva Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: TEVA  ) and Watson Pharmaceuticals. Sales will likely slip further, with another dosage of the drug facing generic competition in May, if not sooner.

The little I do know about this industry can be summarized thusly: Biotechs with little or no patent protection have a very hard time protecting profits.

Biovail and its lack of love from regulators ... Tuesday'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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