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Stock turkeys of 2005
A list of the biggest losers on Wall Street, and why they ain't necessarily next year's buys.
November 22, 2005: 1:55 PM EST
By Alexandra Twin, CNN/Money staff writer

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - With Thanksgiving just days away, Wall Streeters have turkey on the brain.

But with the holidays and the end of the year fast approaching, investors are also bound to be pondering turkeys other than the birds Americans will be eating Thursday -- i.e., those of the stock variety. And there are plenty of them.

Granted, it's been a tough year for Wall Street, with rising oil prices and a pickup in inflation putting pressure on the market.

But the recent rally has pushed the major gauges into positive territory for the year, leaving the S&P 500 up 3.6 percent, the Nasdaq composite up 3.1 percent and the Dow industrials, the laggard in the group, up a scant 0.3 percent as of Monday's close.

Still, some stocks have thrived despite the challenges. Energy companies, buoyed by higher oil and natural gas prices, have had a great year. And Apple is still on a tear, with the stock more than doubling this year after it tripled last year on soaring sales of the iPod.

On the other hand, a number of stocks and sectors have taken a beating.

And the biggest turkeys in the S&P 500 this year include some well known names, including auto parts maker Dana (Research), personal computer maker Gateway (Research) and the nation's two largest automakers, General Motors (Research) and Ford (Research).

GM also has the dubious distinction of being the Dow 30's biggest turkey of 2005, followed by Verizon (Research) and Pfizer (Research).

The biggest losers in the Nasdaq 100? Contract manufacturer Sanmina-SCI (Research) and business software maker Mercury Interactive (Research), both of which also appear on the S&P 500 top 10 turkey list.

Among mid-cap stocks, UTStarcom (Research), a supplier of wireless telecom gear, is the biggest loser so far this year.

Movie Gallery (Research) is the biggest turkey in the world of small-cap stocks -- defined as stocks with a market cap between $300 million and $1 billion. (For more on these stocks, see the charts.)

Here's a look at the biggest turkeys of the year, what dragged them down and where they stand heading into 2006.

S&P 500

With a decline of nearly 58 percent as of Monday's close, truck and auto parts supplier Dana holds the distinction of being the S&P 500's biggest loser so far this year.

Like fellow suppliers Visteon and Delphi, Dana has struggled as the domestic auto industry has struggled. GM on Monday announced it was cutting 30,000 hourly workers and closing or scaling back at about a dozen locations in North America. (Full story).

Still, Dana has also had issues of its own.

In September, the Ohio-based company cut its 2005 profit outlook in half, citing higher steel and energy costs.

And last month it delayed the release of its third-quarter results, withdrew its full-year guidance and said it would restate the last six quarters due to faulty accounting. Last week, Dana broadened the restatement to the years from 2000 and 2003 and it also recently announced a restructuring.

Despite this, some Wall Street analysts have said the stock has been beaten up sufficiently to warrant at least a moderate bounce. They argue that it's not in danger of becoming another Delphi -- which filed for bankruptcy last month.

But its fortunes are still tied to the domestic auto industry, whose troubles are significant.

Dow industrials

With a more than 40 percent decline year to date, GM is easily the Dow's biggest loser this year.

The slow and steady decline sent the stock of the world's biggest automaker to an 18-year low last week amid bankruptcy worries. The company has had a tough year, faced with higher raw material and health care costs, the risk of worker strikes and problems selling cars and trucks without huge incentives.

GM stock managed to jump at the end of last week after CEO Rick Wagoner, in an e-mail to employees, dismissed speculation that the automaker was going to file for bankruptcy as "just plain wrong."

On Monday, the company said its job cuts and other restructuring moves were meant to save $7 billion a year. But some analysts said the plan doesn't go far enough, suggesting the stock will keep losing ground in the year ahead. (For more on the troubles hounding GM this year, click here.)

Other turkeys

Nasdaq 100: Sanmina-SCI, the Nasdaq 100's biggest turkey, has sank some 50 percent this year amid concerns about its electronics contracting business.

The stock hit a 2-1/2 year low last week and has bounced around over the last three years as the company struggled with what analysts say is a high-cost structure and inability to consistently grow revenue. A recent restructuring and an upbeat fourth-quarter report last week have lent some credence to hopes of a turnaround.

S&P MidCap 400: UTStarcom has tumbled 66 percent year-to-date amid falling profits and an SEC probe into accounting at the supplier of wireless and DSL equipment.

S&P SmallCap 600: Movie Gallery is this index's biggest loser, down nearly 76 percent so far this year. Traditional video store chains have seen rental revenues fall, and Movie Gallery reported weaker results last week, due in part to its purchase of rival Hollywood Entertainment.  Top of page

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