Pops & Drops: McDonald's, Gilead Sciences...

Following are the year’s biggest winners and losers. Find out why shares of McDonald’s and Gilead Sciences popped while General Motors and Citigroup dropped.

POPS (stocks that jumped higher)

McDonald’s (MCD) popped 6%. Investors were still lovin’ the world’s largest restaurant company, as the chain’s dollar menu appealed to cash-strapped consumers. - It's one of the finest run corporations in the nation, says Jeff Macke.

Gilead Sciences (GILD) popped 11%. The biopharmaceutical company received FDA approval for its Hepatitis drug. - It's one of my favorites for 2009, says Guy Adami.

Amgen (AMGN) popped 23%. This cancer drug maker was one of the few bright spots this year; they reported strong third-quarter profits along with many biotech firms. - I think they could do even better next year, muses Joe Terranova.

Wal-Mart (WMT) popped 18%. The world’s largest retailer came out on top this year, and is expected to be the sole-retailer to report positive same-store sales growth in December as holiday shoppers flocked to the discount retailer. - No fashion just affordable goods, says Jeff Macke.

DROPS (stocks that slid lower)

General Motors (GM) dropped 87%. The biggest US automaker faced bankruptcy and collapse this year, with sales at a 26-year low, and pled its case to the US government. Then it received emergency loans and additional funds to it’s lending arm GMAC. - It's still going down, muses Guy Adami.

Citigroup (C ) dropped 77%. One of the Dow’s worst performers this year, the battered financial suffered four straight quarterly losses, lost its title of largest US bank by assets, and needed multiple injections of Fed funds. - Stay the heck away from this name, counsels Quint Tatro.

Alcoa (AA) dropped 69%. The largest US aluminum producer dropped as prices for the metal plunged. Also it missed earnings estimates and announced a series of layoffs. - They lost their pricing power, explains Joe Terranova.

Yahoo (YHOO) dropped 48%. The owner of the second-most popular US internet search engine had a tumultuous year, from the failed Microsoft deals to the resignation of CEO Jerry Yang, and more recently cut jobs in response to a slowdown in advertising.

Goldman Sachs (GS) dropped 60%. Once the golden child of Wall Street, the firm was converted to a bank holding company this year and received capital injections from the US government. - They still have great intellectual capital at the firm, adds Joe Terranova.

UST Inc. (UST) popped 26%. The tobacco company popped this year, with a $10 billion takeover by Altria Group scheduled for next week. - Guy Adami doesn't know what to say.

Hartford Financial (HIG) dropped 81%. The insurer lost most of its value after it reported a record loss for the third quarter despite taking a $2 billion capital infusion from Allianz, raising concerns from investors about the company's capital adequacy. - The stock is broken, says Qunit Tatro. Stay away.

MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (EEM) dropped 50%. The unwieldy financial crisis seems to have harmed every corner of the globe. - Everyone else in the world did worse than the US, exclaims Jeff Macke.

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Trader disclosure: On Dec. 31st, 2008, the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC’s Fast Money were owned by the Fast Money traders: Macke Owns (SDS), (MCD), (WMT), (MSFT), (TM); Adami Owns (AGU), (BTU), (C), (GS), (INTC), (MSFT), (NUE); Tatro Owns (JPM); Quint Tatro Is The Principal Of Tatro Capital; Tatro Capital Owns (TBT), (DXO), (APOL); Tatro Capital Is Short (AAPL), (GOOG), (MCD), (XOM); Terranova Is Co-Portfolio Manager Of The Virtus Diversifier PHOLIO; Virtus Diversifier PHOLIO Owns (IGE), (DBC), (DBV); Terranova Is Chief Alternatives Strategist Of Virtus Investment Partners, Ltd.; Virtus Investment Partners Owns More Than 1% Of (ABD), (ARE), (BIG), (OFC), (DLR), (EXR), (IGE), (MAC), (DBC), (DBV), (SKT), (UA), (CLB) : Virtus Investment Partners Owns More Than 1% Of Seagate Tax Refund Rights

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