There's never a shortage of losers in the stock market.

Let's take a closer look at five of this past week's biggest sinkers.


Dec. 23 Weekly Loss My Watchlist
Targecept (Nasdaq: TRGT) $5.49 (30%) Add
Alaska Communications (Nasdaq: ALSK) $3.29 (27%) Add
JAKKS Pacific (Nasdaq: JAKK) $13.99 (19%) Add
HomeAway (Nasdaq: AWAY) $19.90 (15%) Add
Quepasa (AMEX: QPSA) $3.10 (13%) Add

Source: Barron's.

Targacept received disappointing results in a study for its experimental antidepressant drug. It's Targacept's lead candidate, and even its more established partner -- AstraZeneca (NYSE: AZN) -- is writing down the intangible assets related to the once-promising drug.

Shares of Alaska Communications Systems were baked after the company announced a whopping 77% cut in its quarterly dividend rate. The Anchorage-based telco attracted yield chasers with its previously lofty --though now clearly unsustainable -- yield that approached 20%.

JAKKS was off on all trades after the toymaker warned that it would earn far less than it had originally projected for the holiday quarter.

William Blair initiated coverage of vacation rental specialist HomeAway with an uninspiring "market perform" rating. "Despite our positive bias on the business model, we prefer to wait on the sidelines at the current valuation," writes analyst Ralph Schackart. "We believe HomeAway's stock price is anticipating positive estimate revisions, and Street consensus estimates may be too high."

Quepasa shares suffered a double-digit percentage loss, despite the company kicking off the week by introducing a new iPad app for its fast-growing myYearbook social website. Given the pounding that the stock has taken in recent months, tax-loss selling was probably a big contributor to last week's dip.

It was a rough week for these five stocks. If you want to shake yesterday's losers and ride tomorrow's winners, a new special report reveals Motley Fool's top stock for 2012. It's free, but only for a limited time, so check it out now.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.