Track the companies that matter to you. It's FREE! Click one of these fan favorites to get started: Apple; Google; Ford.



Quick Take: In Defense of Truth on Overstock (Nasdaq: OSTK  ) CEO Patrick Byrne has made a lot of hay about so-called corrupt analysts and their alleged ties to journalists. So I find it interesting that he hasn't piped up to denounce the latest fish story about Overstock, this one appearing on

It regards a fund that has "bet big" on Overstock, one run by money manager Arne Alsin. Alsin, you will recall, has in the past written some amusing Overstock puff pieces, like this one, containing predictions that, in hindsight, are shown to have been utterly wrong. Or this one, which is yet more disturbing, because it was published the day after Byrne promised investors a "big story breaking next 24 hours" on our boards.

This time around, it's co-manager Glenn Surowiec's turn to polish the big O. The article says, "If the company returns to 'normalized profitability,' which Surowiec pegs at around 4% operating margins, that should turn out to be cheap."

Operating margins of 4%?'s (Nasdaq: AMZN  ) operating margins are 3.6% and falling. Since 2001, Overstock's best performance in annual operating margins is -1%. That's negative 1%, folks.

Those are, of course, exactly the kind of crummy margins you'd expect in a business that is essentially moatless. But does the Alsin-Overstock fluff machine bother to explain why it expects the big O's margins to do better than the prime name in the space? Nope. And I suspect there's a good reason: It's a made-up number.

Anyone out there think Byrne will bother to correct the record on this fuzzy math? Let's not hold our breath. is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick.

Comments? Bring them here.

At the time of publication, Seth Jayson had no positions in any company mentioned here. Those who want to dispute his opinion on stocks should direct themselves to Motley Fool CAPS, where we can keep score. (Seth's currently third out of 27,000.) See his latest blog commentary here. View his stock holdings and Fool profile here. Fool rules are here.

Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (17)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Compare Brokers

Fool Disclosure

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 525858, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 10/26/2016 3:44:50 PM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Today's Market

updated Moments ago Sponsored by:
DOW 18,213.78 44.51 0.24%
S&P 500 2,140.87 -2.29 -0.11%
NASD 5,253.25 -30.15 -0.57%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

10/26/2016 3:27 PM
OSTK $14.75 Down +0.00 +0.00% CAPS Rating: *
AMZN $824.89 Down -10.30 -1.23% CAPS Rating: ****