We had a very hard time with a topic for this week’s column. We are generally pretty optimistic, but it is a hard time to be positive, with the world on lock-down and markets in a massive decline.

So, we are going to offend a few this week to appease the many. Sure, your stocks are all down, but at least you — or most of you — didn’t own the following five securities.

Your portfolio might be down 40 per cent, but it could be worse. Let’s look at five epic investment failures that you probably didn’t own. It may not make you feel better about your own portfolio, but it’s all we’ve got this week. Like showing clips of epic fails on the show Ridiculousness, here goes:

Tilray Inc. (TLRY on Nasdaq)

In the future market history books, Tilray will get its own chapter as the poster boy of the great 2018/2019 cannabis bubble. Let’s take a look: The stock was at $300 in September 2018. Briefly, sure, but it still hit that milestone. Today it is $2.95, down 99 per cent from its peak. We have largely ignored Tilray for the past two years, not interested in the sector nor its valuation. But it caught our eye this past week when it did a financing. That’s right, it needed money, so decided to sell new shares at $4.76 per share. That’s right, a stock that was $300 less than two years ago decided that raising money south of $5 a share was a good idea now. What’s even worse, is that the buyers of that financing have already lost nearly half their money — in one week!! As we write this, the stock is down 97 per cent in the past year alone.

Baytex (BTE on TSX)

Sure, the Canadian energy sector is a basket case right now, filled with the walking dead of companies that don’t know they are dead yet. Stock declines of 80 per cent or more this year are not uncommon at all. Even giant blue-chip infrastructure companies such as Enbridge (ENB on TSX) are down 34 per cent this year. Investors are questioning every dividend, wondering who is going to cut next. Baytex at least did not have THAT problem, having eliminated its dividend in 2015. But it has had its share of problems since. Most see its $1.8 billion in debt (versus its market cap of $188 million) as the big issue. Its merger with Rainy River Resources did not seem to help it at all. Baytex is down 82 per cent this year, but that is in line with a lot of other declines. Nope, it makes this list because it has been declining for years now. It was a $59 stock in 2012, and is down 99.4 per cent from its peak.

Direxion Daily Junior Gold Miners Index Bull 3X Shares (JNUG on NYSE)

We have talked about how bad leveraged ETFs are for investors, but we are surprised how popular they still are. But we have highlighted JNUG for two reasons: one, gold and gold stocks are supposed to act as some form of ‘insurance’ in times of crisis. JNUG has not done this, with a 94 per cent loss THIS MONTH! No matter how badly your own portfolio has been hit, we are pretty sure it hasn’t been this bad. Two, the liquidity of the derivatives JNUG uses to set its pricing completely seized up these past few weeks, a reflection of how bad things have gotten in credit/derivative markets. Subsequently, the price of JNUG fell from $67 to less than $5 in a period of seven trading days. Unreal, but it still makes me feel a bit better about my own portfolio. Even with its massive meltdown, JNUG surprisingly still has more than $130 million in assets.

Liminal Biosciences Inc. (LMNL on TSX)

Liminal is the former Prometic Life Sciences, famous (infamous) for its 1-for-1000 share consolidation last year and a rights issue that really angered shareholders. It is an ugly story, so we won’t go into it too much, but instead focus on the stock price: LMNL, adjusted for splits, has gone from $1,308 per share in 2015 to $7.90 per share today. That is a drop of 99.4 per cent. It really doesn’t get worse than that, unless your company goes bankrupt and its shares get de-listed. This year, Liminal is ‘only’ down 27 per cent, making it a relative outperform in the recent market malaise.

Finally, we ran a screen of stocks worth $100 million or more whose share prices have declined the most this year. We eliminated all resource companies because, well, there were too many of them with big declines. We have settled on Carnival Cruises (CCL on NYSE) as perhaps the poster boy for this decline. With cruises effectively being “floating petri dishes” it was clear this industry was going to be in trouble. Now, all cruises, worldwide, have essentially been stopped. For how long is anyone’s guess. Poor Carnival, with $11 billion in debt, its shares have been sold relentlessly by scared investors and short sellers alike (the short position is 29 million shares now). Shares are down 83 per cent in the past year, yet it still has a market value of $6 billion. President Trump has vowed to protect the cruise industry, but investors are not buying into any recovery yet. The stock fell 30 per cent on March 12, and 16 per cent, 11 per cent and 25 per cent, in the first three trading days of this week. Ouch.

In a future column, we will highlight five securities that you wish you had owned, with giant gains even in one of the worst market environments, ever.

Peter Hodson, CFA, is Founder and Head of Research of 5i Research Inc., an independent research network providing conflict-free advice to individual investors (https://www.5iresearch.ca).