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

First Marblehead (NYSE:FMD)

$3.37

****

(16.79)

$3.12-$42.50

Briggs & Stratton (NYSE:BGG)

$14.82

**

(14.24)

$14.70-$33.40

Nokia (NYSE:NOK)

$28.95

****

(14.07)

$23.61-$42.22

Build-A-Bear Workshop (NYSE:BBW)

$8.24

**

(7.83)

$7.89-$31.19

New York Times (NYSE:NYT)

$19.42

*

(0.41)

$14.01-$26.87

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 on this list. Today, sadly, is 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 97,000-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 Nokia, which reported solid but lower-than-expected revenue and profit in its first quarter.

But a slight miss isn't enough to make our daily doomsday list. That requires a bit of something extra, which Nokia CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo provided yesterday when he dismissed the threat from Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) iPhone by referring to it as a "niche product."

Uh-huh. A niche product that China wants and Nokia is trying to copy.

Worser
Next up is New York Times, which fell sharply after copping to a first-quarter net loss on a 5% drop in revenue before ending the day down just a bit.

Sluggish demand among advertisers was, once again, the culprit. Ad revenue declined 9% even as circulation revenue climbed 2%. Maybe Madison Avenue just loves Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) more? It sure seems like it from the search king's earnings report.

Management won't admit that, though. CEO Janet Robinson said the Gray Lady is one of many media mavens twisting in the economic headwinds. Quoting from a company statement:

Advertising revenues decreased in the quarter as weaker economic conditions compounded the effects of secular change in our business. While this is a challenging time for the media industry, we are diligently managing our business for the long term. [Emphasis added.]

Oh, I see. It's not cutthroat competition from the likes of Rupert Murdoch, who is reportedly investing millions to reshape The Wall Street Journal, that's biting into profits. It's just bad timing.

Riiiiiiight.

Worst
But our winner is First Marblehead, which took a huge hit when Bank of America decided it no longer wanted to partner with the company to fund student loans.

Foolish colleague Jim Gillies predicted this possibility a little more than a week ago in a discussion board post for our Motley Fool Hidden Gems subscribers. He remained appropriately sanguine yesterday, writing in a follow-up that subscribers should "consider that particular shoe to now have dropped." As much as 20% of First Marblehead's origination business may now be toast.

No doubt, First Marblehead's story is a sad one. But, to me, it's made sadder still by management's tepid response. Quoting CEO Jack Kopnisky from a company statement:

First Marblehead remains passionate about its mission to provide private student loan solutions to help fill the gap between federal aid and the rising cost of college. We are committed to continue to work with lenders to provide an integrated suite of services including product development, processing and securitization services.

Could you provide any less information, sir?

First Marblehead and its anyone-have-an-idea-what-I-should-say-now executive team ... 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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