The trend is your friend for best and worst stocks

Aaron Pressman

Over at Laszlo Biryini's shop, they've posted the 20 best and worst performing stocks in the Russell 2000 small-cap index for the first half of 2006. Nothing jumps off the page. Weight-loss firm Medifast (MED) almost quadrupled while biotech drugmaker Neurocrine Biosciences (NBIX) fell off a cliff, losing 83%.

It does make one wonder - is there a contrarian play here? Will the first half's losers run up for the rest of the year while winners take a tumble? At least based on the 2005 data, the trend is your friend and the contrarians will be punished. The 20 top performers of the first half of 2005 gained a modest 9% on average in the second half, with 10 showing losses. The 20 worst performers went on to lose another 16% on average with just six gainers.