Money & Career

5 of the worst Canadian stocks in 2011

Author: Canadian Living

Money & Career

5 of the worst Canadian stocks in 2011

It's been a rocky year for most stock market investors, but if you had money in the following companies during the past 12 months your returns were likely downright disastrous. There were lots of bad buys, but here are a few of the worst-performing well-known Canadian stocks of 2011, in no particular order. If you haven't already gotten out, now might be a good time.

1. Air Canada (TSX: AC.B)
Canada's top airline had another rough year, with its stock price falling a whopping 71 per cent since January 4. On December 19, financial firm UBS slashed its price target by 40 cents (never a good thing), saying that concerns around labour negotiations and a growing pension deficit, among other things, have made the airline less attractive to investors.

2. Research in Motion (TSX: RIM)
The once mighty Canadian tech giant has pretty much fallen flat on its face in 2011. Poor performance and shipping delays caused analysts to panic and investors to flee. RIM's stock price has dropped an incredible 75 per cent this year, with its most recent setback coming in mid-December when the company announced its fourth-quarter projections. RIM said that it expects revenue to fall nearly $1 billion from the year before and predicts a big drop in BlackBerry sales.

3. Sino-Forest Corp. (TSX: TRE)
It's unlikely you own any Sino-Forest stock anymore, but it may have had the most spectacular fall out of any this year. This Mississauga-based company was, until May, a forestry giant -- at its peak it had a market cap of $6 billion -- but accusations of fraud sent the stock plummeting. The price fell 79.35 per cent before trading was halted in late August, though it lost most of its value in the beginning of June, when the allegations first came to light.

4. Yellow Media Inc. (TSX: YLO)
It wasn't that long ago that a new phone book would immediately find its way into the best drawer in the kitchen. Now, the still-fat tomes are usually tossed straight in the recycling bin. That shift has been bad news for Yellow Media, the producers of the Yellow Pages book and other telephone directories. The company has been in a downward spiral for a long time and 2011 was no different. It cut its dividend -- a big no-no -- and a shift to digital hasn't helped the company. Earlier this year, Standard and Poor's put yet another nail in the coffin by downgrading its credit rating to junk status.

5. Le Château (TSX: CTU.A)
Most people know Le Château, the Montreal-based clothing retailer, for its spiffy duds, but investors are familiar with it for another reason: it's one of the worst-performing stocks of the year. The company's share price has plummeted 85 per cent since January 4. The retailer announced that it lost $4.1 million in its third quarter compared to the same time the year before, while sales fell by 5.4 per cent. It then said it was cutting its dividend, which sent investors running to the exits.

While these aren't the worst-performing stocks of 2011, they're close to it. Hopefully, next year will be kinder to these companies -- and to your portfolio.

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Money & Career

5 of the worst Canadian stocks in 2011