Even though the market managed a slight gain this year, not every stock went along for the ride. Let's take a look at five stocks that didn't quite pan out for investors.
The travel-deals publisher took a holiday after a wild 2004. It's not as if the fundamentals fell apart at Travelzoo. The company's mailing list of subscribers to its weekly Top 20 getaway offers grew to more than 9 million members. The company is on track to earn $0.51 a share this year, a definite improvement over last year's $0.34-a-share showing. The problem here is that you had a company with a thin float going through wild price swings last year. Shares should stabilize around their current price. It's not that the company is necessarily cheap; its got an enterprise value of 40 times trailing earnings, or less than 30 times next year's projections. However, it certainly isn't as clearly overvalued as it was when the year began.
If you find yourself persuaded to take an online survey, Greenfield may be doing the polling. But if you ask Greenfield investors how they feel, on a scale of 1 to 10, about owning shares in a company that has surrendered three-quarters of its market value in 2005, don't be surprised if the survey ends in a huff. The company has only been public since last December, and it has clearly not lived up to expectations. Earnings have come in lower every quarter in 2005, and it's easy for investors to feel as if they bought into a corporate exit strategy that went public just as its bottom line was peaking. Revenue growth has been explosive, however, so keep an eye on Greenfield to see whether an operating turnaround can take place.
It's been one bad reel after another for the video rental chain. The trouble began when the company outbid Blockbuster
Formerly known as FindWhat.com, the company's change of moniker couldn't help it shake off its falling share price. As one of the earliest players in paid search, MIVA just couldn't keep pace with the big boys. From losing advertisers to larger chains to having to boot some less-than-savory accounts, MIVA will have its work cut out for itself in 2006.
Rule Breakers' recommendation of Shanda shares in 2004 was based on the company's status as the dominant force in online gaming in China. However, as the company began to lose market share in 2005 to fellow Rule Breakers pick NetEase.com
So what are the chances of these five stocks making the least-wanted list in 2006? Slim, for the most part. The damage has been done in some cases. In others, the seeds for a recovery in the year ahead are already in place. Turnarounds can be rewarding for investors willing to buy in when others won't. If that's your bag, consider checking out the Motley FoolInside Value newsletter service, where pretty stocks in ugly wrappers often make the cut. Consider a free trial subscription to see if it's right for you.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz thinks that turnarounds are tastier than turnovers. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story. The Fool has a disclosure policy. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.