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By Ben Steverman
This has been a punishing year for nearly all investors.
The S&P 500, the broad U.S. stock index, has tumbled more than 38% since the start of the year, and even so-called safe investments, such as municipal and corporate bonds, have fared poorly. But amid all these losses, some investments stand out for their terrible performance.
This slide show features 25 of the very worst choices investors could have made in 2008. They range from whole industries to individual companies. Some problems might have been easy to foresee: Newspaper companies and financial stocks already had suffered through a rocky 2007. Others were more unexpected, such as problems with auction-rate securities and the wild fluctuations of energy stocks.
But all of these investments were hit extra hard by the economic slowdown and credit crunch, and they face another tough year unless the economic and financial outlook improves soon.
2008 stock performance quoted is through Dec. 9.