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5 Worst Stocks of the Year -- Which Are 'Buys' for 2012?

Updated First Solar's business description and the language describing the CEO's departure.

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- You can usually find attractive stocks in the laggards of a given year. That's not the case in 2011.

The S&P 500 Index of the biggest U.S. stocks is barely break-even this year and there are many shares underperforming the broader market. Some of the weakest companies are being plagued by a limp economy, intense competition and poor leadership.

Those stocks will take time to recover from their 2011 lows, especially given that the economy at home and abroad -- Europe and China, especially -- are going down. And for stocks with company-specific issues, there won't be an overnight turnaround.

Of the bottom five stocks, I recommend only one: coal-mining company Alpha Natural Resources (ANR). The stock is poised to rebound in 2012 as the integration of an acquisition takes hold in 2012 and coal prices increase.

Top Videos of 2011


Details on the worst stocks of the S&P 500 are below. You'll want to stay away from most of them in 2012.

5. Alpha Natural Resources

Company Profile: Alpha Natural Resources is an Appalachian coal supplier.

2011 Stock Performance: minus 59%

What Went Wrong: The acquisition of Massey Energy after its tragic mine accident in 2010 is taking longer than expected to integrate and costing more, causing investors to question the acquisition. Concerns over an economic slowdown in the U.S. and Europe also weigh on the stock.

Is It Worth Owning in 2012? Many analysts argue that the stock has been unfairly beaten down. As Massey Energy is consolidated, its profits will improve and the realization of savings ($150 million in 2012) will provide support for the stock. Plus, U.S. coal contract prices are up from last year, which will help profitability. I recommend buying this stock in 2012.

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