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

SemGroup (Nasdaq: SGLP  )

$11.00

***

(51.75%)

$10.16-$31.00

Champion Enterprises (NYSE: CHB  )

$3.15

*

(32.98%)

$2.91-$14.59

Safeway (NYSE: SWY  )

$26.78

**

(10.76%)

$25.75-$36.00

International Game Technology (NYSE: IGT  )

$22.77

***

(7.66%)

$21.29-$49.41

E.W. Scripps (NYSE: SSP  )

$8.71

**

(6.44%)

$8.10-$147.78

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. 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 110,000-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 International Game Technology, which reported a 21% decrease in quarterly profit. Fewer gamblers are gambling less, apparently.

"These conditions we see in the marketplace are looking like they will continue for the foreseeable future," Chief Executive T.J. Matthews said in a conference call with analysts. He's referring to -- among other things -- smoking bans at casinos.

That's fair. Spokesmen for Ameristar's property in Black Hawk, Colorado, a 45-minute drive from my home office, say that the state's ban on smoking in casinos has taken a toll.

Mix in a heavy dose of economic weakness, and International Game Technology's profit plan -- which depends on Ameristar, Las Vegas Sands (NYSE: LVS  ) , and their peers maintaining thriving gaming operations -- looks far too fragile.

Worser
Next up is Safeway, which expects lower same-store sales as consumers switch from premium brands to in-house offerings.

The good news? Most grocers earn higher profits on in-store brands. The bad? Lower sales too often also mean lower volume. Certainly that's been true here in the Beyers household. We're eating out far less and being careful to only shop for what we'll eat. My local grocer, a Kroger (NYSE: KR  ) affiliate, is getting less of our paycheck.

Safeway's comps outlook strongly suggests that many of its shoppers are similarly cautious. Higher generic profit margins may be unable to keep pace with declining revenue.

Worst
But our winner is Champion Enterprises, which reported an 18% decline in revenue in its largest segment. But the worst could still be to come.

"As we close out the first half of 2008, and look forward to the second half, it is clear that a recovery of any significance in the U.S. housing markets is becoming less likely," CEO Bill Griffiths told investors during a conference call.

Few of our top investors in CAPS -- the All-Stars -- can claim to be surprised: 43% of them who rate it say the stock will underperform the broader market. I agree.

Champion Enterprises and its good-houses-sold-cheaper 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.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers, who is ranked 17,561 out of more than 110,000 participants in CAPS, also writes for Rule Breakers. He hopes that Keith Olbermann doesn't mind the blatant theft of his "Worst Person in the World" segment from Countdown. Remember, Keith, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Ameristar Casinos is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems pick. Try this market-beating service free for 30 days. There's no obligation to subscribe.

Tim didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article at the time of publication. The Fool's disclosure policy thinks cooked spinach is the worst veggie in the world.


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