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

Huron Consulting (NASDAQ:HURN)

$40.63

***

(30.54)

$37.59-$84.00

DSW (NYSE:DSW)

$13.34

***

(23.99)

$12.95-$44.05

Noven Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:NOVN)

$9.84

**

(13.68)

$8.71-$26.15

CKE Restaurants (NYSE:CKR)

$10.98

***

(11.81)

$10.74-$23.24

Radian Group (NYSE:RDN)

$7.27

*

(11.77)

$4.41-$63.95

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

Naughty?
Well, OK, we shouldn't exactly call the stocks listed above naughty. There are days when five-star winners and newsletter recommendations appear here. Today isn't one of those days.

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, too.

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

Worse
We begin with CKE Restaurants, which said that its fourth-quarter earnings fell -- get this -- 99%. Revenue was also down. It doesn't get much worse than that, does it?

Nope. And I'm not at all sure there's a quick fix waiting on the burger grill. CKE's P/E is lower than competitors' for a reason: Its operating margin is among the worst in its industry, and less than one-quarter of top dog McDonald's (NYSE: MCD  ) .

Worser
Next up is Radian Group, which said it would stop insuring against defaults on low-documentation loans, otherwise known as Alt-A or "liar" loans.

Smart move. Poor lending standards have aided and abetted the current crisis, so clamping down on them is a natural step for a business in recovery. But, of course, "in recovery" is the key phrase here. That Radian now has to turn away business that it once found lucrative reveals how structurally fragile the business model has become. As CAPS investor tutaemeia put it earlier this month:

Put together mortgage insurance, financial guaranty and financial services, what do you get? DEBTS ... Lots of debts. This is a risky business with everything to lose.

Worst
But our winner is Huron Consulting, a consultancy that can't find financial advising clients when business owners in need of financial advice are on every street corner. Some undoubtedly are even begging for change.

Well, OK, maybe.

But the point remains. Management now estimates that first-quarter earnings will come in between $0.50 and $0.57 per share. Only last month, executives told investors to expect $0.66 to $0.70 a share. At the time, management said that potential clients hadn't finished identifying problems.

Either business really is that bad, or competitors FTI Consulting and Navigant Consulting (NYSE: NCI  ) are that good, or, frankly, management doesn't really know what to expect.

Some choices, eh?

Huron Consulting and its wait-till-there's-more-blood-in-the-streets business model ... 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 Tuesday with more stock horror stories.


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