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Five Stocks That Tanked

It wasn't rosy for all stocks despite the buoyant 2004. Let's take a closer look at five companies that saw their stocks halved -- if not worse -- over the past year.

Krispy Kreme (NYSE: KKD  ) -- How quickly the glazed have fallen. From the company faulting lower sales on the thinning guts of low-carb dieters to serious allegations stemming from its franchised-store acquiring practices, Krispy Kreme may not be a broken brand, but it certainly feels like a broken company these days. The year 2005 may prove to be kinder as the low-carb trend appears to be waning and the shares are no longer priced at an upbeat market premium.

Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX  ) -- With 2.5 million subscribers to its convenient mail-delivered DVD rental service, why is Netflix looking so glum? Blame it on the price war. Fearing that Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN  ) was gearing to enter the online niche, Netflix issued an aggressive pricing strategy that would derail its growth through at least the year ahead.

Maxtor (NYSE: MXO  ) -- A hard-drive maker never forgets, and last month's abrupt resignation of Maxtor's CEO isn't going to do much to blur the company's horrendous year. It followed the brief tenure of its CFO and if the executives are bailing you know investors aren't going to have much of a reason to cling to a lifeless vessel. Yes, the fixed disk manufacturers have had a rough go lately, but with the company posting quarterly losses and falling far behind market leader Seagate (NYSE: STX  ) , maybe it's time to reformat Maxtor and start from scratch.

Interstate Bakeries (OTC BB: IBCIQ) -- Fried Twinkies? That seemed to be on more than just the state fair menu, as the baked-goods specialist filed for bankruptcy after a tough year of falling earnings, years of flat sales and delayed financials.

ESS Technology (Nasdaq: ESST  ) -- Just a couple of years ago it seemed as though ESS was going to be a promising company, with its video chips powering DVD players just as consumers were taking to the platform. But an influx of effective DVD chips from new and old rivals found margins falling. Yesterday proved to be the icing on this toxic cake, as the company had to lower its fourth quarter guidance.

Ultimately all five stocks proved to be half the equities they used to be. Their resolution for 2005? No more weight loss, one would think.

Is Krispy Kreme the only company hoping that the South Beach and Atkins dieting trends don't make it to 2005? How effective have the diets been and is anything a better solution than just regular exercise? All this and more -- in the Low Carb Way of Life discussion board. Only on

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz hates to say that he loved and lost, but he did eventually cut his losses with Krispy Kreme -- while still an investor in Netflix. He is also part of theRule Breakersnewsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.

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