2009 went a long way toward healing the wounds that the market meltdown inflicted on stock investors. But even after a rally that's lasted the better part of a year, many are concerned that stocks may be poised for an even bigger fall.
That's one reason we asked our Foolish contributors to make their picks for the worst stock of 2010. They looked at seven candidates and asked Foolish readers to weigh in on which they thought would do the worst this year. Judging from the results, you made it very clear that you thought some of those picks didn't even belong on the list in the first place. Yet two solid candidates from badly hurt industries soared to the top of the balloting -- and the winner didn't need a photo finish to earn its dubious honor.
Yep, we can hear you now
The most controversial pick of the contest was Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) . After having beaten out Silver Wheaton as the readers' pick for best stock of 2010, Apple seemed like an odd choice for this contest. But Fool contributor Anders Bylund took a stab at laying out the bearish case.
Readers didn't buy it. By an overwhelming 750-vote margin, Apple fans reasserted the stock's positive prospects for 2010.
Bad, but not worst
With several other picks, readers weren't as emphatically supportive. The phoenix-like recoveries of financials Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS ) and Bank of America (NYSE: BAC ) had many of you thinking that their good runs would have to come to an end soon. Concerns about consumers and their ability to keep spending in a sluggish recovery bolstered the case for retailer Sears Holdings (Nasdaq: SHLD ) and coffee maven Starbucks (Nasdaq: SBUX ) .
Nevertheless, when asked if those stocks were the worst, a majority of voters still said no. Only two companies had more bearish votes than bullish ones.
There can be only one
Those two stocks put up a strong fight. Fannie Mae (NYSE: FNM ) is the ultimate poster child for the mortgage crisis, with government support and a stock price that's down 98% from its highs. And in case value investors thought that a stock trading for $1 must be a bargain, Motley Fool Inside Value lead advisor Philip Durell put those false hopes to rest.
Yet even Fannie Mae couldn't stand up to the perennially struggling Eastman Kodak (NYSE: EK ) . With shares trading lower than they did 40 years ago, at the height of the Kodachrome craze, Fool contributor Rich Duprey colorfully put the kibosh on anyone who expects Kodak to be more than a patent-troller that will never emerge from turnaround mode.
Thanks to everyone who participated in our contest. This is your last chance to weigh in -- does Kodak deserve to be worst of the worst, or is there an even worse stock out there? Chime in with a comment below, and may you avoid owning losing stocks in 2010 and beyond!