Bad days. We all have them; some of us deserve them. Here are five stocks whose naughty ways drew investors' scorn on Thursday:


Closing Price

CAPS Rating

(5 max)





ExpressJet Holdings (NYSE:XJT)





Dick's Sporting Goods (NYSE:DKS)





Spectrum Brands (NYSE:SPC)





Talbots (NYSE:TLB)





Jackson Hewitt Tax Service (NYSE:JTX)





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

Well, OK, we can't exactly call the stocks on this list naughty. There are days when five-star winners and newsletter recommendations appear here. 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 105,000-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.

We begin with Dick's Sporting Goods, which yesterday fell to a new 52-week low after reporting lousy first-quarter earnings.

Net income fell 4% during Q1 thanks in part to a 4% decline in consolidated same-store sales. Gross margin, meanwhile, fell by 120 basis points, diluting the impact of a better-than-10% improvement in total revenue.

CEO Ed Stack told analysts during a conference call that Dick's customers are feeling the pinch from "gas and food prices." The company reduced its full-year guidance as a result.

Few Fools were surprised. CAPS All-Star euphoria96 put it this way in February:

Great store, still small and growing. However, we're heading into a huge recession that has not been priced into [Dick's Sporting Goods] yet. If you like [this company] wait 18 months and buy at much lower prices. Growth companies get hit very hard in market downturns.

Next up is Spectrum Brands, a former guest in this column that sank on news that fellow "Worst" alumnus Moody's (NYSE:MCO) may be threatening to downgrade its debt.

But is the situation at Spectrum really that bad? Yep. Executives recently agreed to sell its pet products division to Salton for $692.5 million in cash, which it needs -- desperately -- to pay down some of its reported $2.6 billion in long-term debt.

And I do mean "desperately." Check out how Spectrum's liquidity has deteriorated in recent years:



FY 2007

FY 2006

FY 2005

Debt-to-total capital

(lower is better)





EBIT** / interest expense

(higher is better)





Source: Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's.
Spectrum's fiscal year ends on Sept. 30 of the named year.
*Trailing 12 months. **EBIT = earnings before interest and tax.

But our winner is ExpressJet Holdings, which announced a plan to cut capacity by 30% because of soaring fuel prices and "excess capacity," which is airline-speak for "too many empty airplanes."

But you knew that. For months, ExpressJet has been unable to keep pace with former legacy patron Continental (NYSE:CAL) in terms of load factor. Fixing the problem would require (a) finding a new legacy partner or (b) cutting capacity and thereby reducing fuel expense. Not much of a choice, is it?

ExpressJet and its hurry-up-and-cut-flights-before-we-go-out-of-business 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 in a week with more stock horror stories.