If last year taught us anything, it's that sometimes, the naysayers are absolutely, positively, 100% right.

When we ran our Worst Stocks for 2008 contest last year, little did we know the surprise the market had in store for investors. Now, we're all licking our wounds and looking for new opportunities -- but our worst-stock picks from last year, when the broader market lost 38%, could have helped you spot some real losers:


2008 Return

Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN)


Beazer Homes




First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR)




General Motors (NYSE:GM)


Pfizer (NYSE:PFE)




Washington Mutual




Source: Morningstar, Yahoo! Finance.

Solar phenom First Solar ended up taking home the booby prize, but the Benefit of Hindsight prize has to go to Washington Mutual, which lost all but the last $0.02 of its value by the end of the year.

So with the benefit of a bear market to prove that avoiding losers can be at least as important as finding big winners, we're letting you take aim at another group of stocks for 2009. And as ridiculous as some of these picks might have seemed this time last year, we now know that just about anything is possible in the current economic crisis.

Will financial stocks again fail to find a bottom, and keep on plunging despite the federal bailout? Will the automakers fail to capitalize on the billions they also collected from the government? Will retailers turn the corner, and will home prices finally recover and give the homebuilders a break from the bad news?

You make the call
One of the most useful things about our Motley Fool CAPS service is that you can be just as successful picking losers are you would be singling out winners. It takes all kinds to make a market; if you think a stock will tank, selling it short can produce a nice profit.

We won't tell you what the worst stock of 2009 is going to be. We're leaving that decision to you, and to the 125,000 members of our CAPS community. It won't be an easy choice, since this year's competition includes plenty of ugly companies, but we know you're up to the challenge.

Peruse these bear pitches, then head over to CAPS to see what others think. You can cast your vote by calling "underperform" or "outperform" on as many of these stocks as you'd like. After everyone's had a chance to weigh in, we'll announce the results and reveal the company that our CAPS community believes could be the worst stock for 2009.

And the nominees are...

Come over to CAPS and cast your vote today!

Amazon.com, Best Buy, Gap, and Starbucks are Motley Fool Stock Advisor picks. Best Buy, Dell, Gap, Pfizer, Starbucks, and Sears Holdings are Motley Fool Inside Value recommendations. Pfizer is a current Motley Fool Income Investor recommendation, while Bank of America is a former one. The Fool owns shares of Starbucks, Pfizer, and Best Buy. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Dan Caplinger deserved to win the Worst Tuxedo Ever Worn award at his girlfriend's senior prom, but some dude with a body-painted tux stole that away from him. He owns shares of Starbucks. We still haven't figured out a good award for the Fool's disclosure policy.