There's never a shortage of losers in the stock market. Let's take a closer look at five of this past week's biggest sinkers.

Company

April 5

Weekly Loss

Exide Technologies

$1.57

42%

Alon USA Partners

$22.19

17%

Walter Energy

$22.19

17%

VirnetX

$16.45

14%

Consumer Portfolio Services

$10.39

11%

Source: Barron's.

Let's start with Exide. The battery maker ran out of juice after confirming that it had hired an investment banker to explore a corporate restructuring. Investors sometimes rally behind companies that bring on investment bankers if they see the move as a prelude to a sale, but given Exide's hairy balance sheet and upcoming convertible debt maturities, the fear is that current stakeholders are about to get royally diluted in a restructuring.


Oil refiner Alon USA Partners tumbled on concerns that proposed regulations to lower the amount of sulfur in gasoline will send refining costs sharply higher. Alon USA is a limited partnership that can process as many as 70,000 barrels a day through its crude-oil refinery in Texas, and higher costs will sting, even if the regulatory measures would be years away. It also didn't help that investors dumped oil-related stocks as commodity prices tanked.

Coal is another commodity industry getting knocked around. Coal miner Walter Energy tumbled after the Institute of Supply Management's monthly reading on manufacturing activity came in well short of economist expectations. The fear is that if we're manufacturing less, we'll consume less coal as a source for industrial production.

VirnetX keeps falling. The Internet security software specialist's stock shed more than a third of its value three weeks ago, coming up short in a patent battle against networking-gear giant Cisco. The stock fell by another 12% two weeks ago, suffering another 14% drop this past week even though VirnetX filed a motion for a new trial against the tech titan.

Consumer Portfolio Services wrecked after a Reuters report shed light on a potential bubble in the subprime auto-loans industry. Consumer Portfolio Services offers indirect financing to car dealers for clients with thorny credit histories. Reuters points out that subprime auto loans are showing up with an alarming frequency on personal bankruptcy filings these days.

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The article 5 of Last Week's Biggest Losers originally appeared on Fool.com.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Cisco Systems. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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