5 Stocks to Sell Now

It's tough to know when to unload a loser, especially if you’ve ridden it down from a lofty perch and now hope it has sunk so low that it just has to bounce back.

Investors would be wise to cut their losses on the five stocks listed below. It looks as if it will take a long time for them to recover, if they recover at all.

1. Alpha Natural Resources (symbol ANR, $8) is one of the nation's biggest coal companies. That would seem to be a good thing because coal is part of the conversation about making America energy-independent. But ANR's future isn't rosy. For starters, a glut of natural gas is reducing demand for coal. Moreover, after examining ANR's debt situation, GMI Ratings, a New York City investment analysis firm, added the Bristol, Va., mining company to its "financial distress" list in October. Why? The company is heavily indebted, hiking its borrowing costs, but it is still not raising the capital it needs. ANR's stock, $67 in January 2011, is now in single-digit territory (prices are as of November 7). Can it get worse? Projecting sales declines, GMI thinks the company may have to file for bankruptcy protection.

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Kathy Kristof
Contributing Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance
Kristof, editor of SideHusl.com, is an award-winning financial journalist, who writes regularly for Kiplinger's Personal Finance and CBS MoneyWatch. She's the author of Investing 101, Taming the Tuition Tiger and Kathy Kristof's Complete Book of Dollars and Sense. But perhaps her biggest claim to fame is that she was once a Jeopardy question: Kathy Kristof replaced what famous personal finance columnist, who died in 1991? Answer: Sylvia Porter.