This Week's 5 Dumbest Stock Moves

Stupidity is contagious. It gets us all from time to time. Even respectable companies can catch it. As I do every week, let's take a look at five dumb financial events this week that may make your head spin.

1. Turning the page on Chapter 10
Midway Games filed for bankruptcy protection. Cable television provider Charter Communications will file for Chapter 11. Sirius XM Radio (Nasdaq: SIRI  ) may have little choice but to reorganize as well.

Shares of Sirius XM have been on a rollercoaster ride heading into next week's repayment of nearly $175 million in debt that is due on Tuesday. Things heated up when reports of prospective suitors like EchoStar (Nasdaq: SATS  ) and Liberty Media (Nasdaq: LINTA  ) circling the wagons arose, but it remains to be seen if any of them want to save Sirius XM now or just wait to score a bargain in bankruptcy court.

Investors -- though they're really speculators at this point -- are staring at feast or famine next week.

2. Radio pity
You can't teach a new media company old media tricks. Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) is bowing out of the broadcast radio advertising business. This comes just weeks after the search engine decided to shutter its print advertising operations.

Some will argue that Google never belonged in fading media platforms like print and terrestrial radio, but I disagree. If Google wants to grow to become the ultimate one-stop solution for sponsors, it makes sense to be the king of all medias.

It's a rough advertising market these days, I know, but this should have been the moment where a cash-rich company like Google got aggressive about growing its share of the ad market.

3. Back in BlackBerry
Wall Street slammed shares of Research in Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM  ) on Wednesday, after the BlackBerry maker announced that it would be clocking in at the low end of its earnings guidance for the current quarter.

This time it's the market that has it wrong. RIM also projected that it will close out the quarter with 3.5 million more BlackBerry users than when it started, well ahead of its original net new subscriber target of 2.9 million. I'm not going to rip into a pioneer like RIM for the temporary sting of contracting margins when it is hooking smart phone users to long-term contracts.

Silly market, you just gave smart investors the perfect opportunity to finally buy into RIM.

4. Venti-size me
It starts. Starbucks (Nasdaq: SBUX  ) is finally caving in, with plans to offer discounted value combos -- like a coffee and a breakfast sandwich for $3.95 -- starting next month.

Some will argue that Starbucks didn't have much of a choice. Customers were defecting in droves, wooed by breakfast specials at burger joints and doughnut shops. However, discounting is a slippery slope. Once you go downmarket, it's hard to climb your way back up.

In other words, Starbucks will never be what it used to be. Maybe it can kidnap Grimace to be its new spokesman.

5. Playtime is over
It was fun while it lasted, Hasbro (NYSE: HAS  ) . After scoring six consecutive quarters of market-thumping results, the leading toymaker missed Wall Street expectations with Monday's report.

Revenue fell by 5% during the crucial holiday quarter, with earnings taking an even bigger 30% hit. Hasbro had been a standout among conventional toy manufacturers, but now it seems as if it, too, is feeling the pressure of penny-pinching parents and kids preferring video games to board games. Maybe it should send out Sorry board games to its shareholders. It's the thought that counts.

Let's beat the dumb drum:

Starbucks is an Inside Value pick and, along with Hasbro, a Stock Advisor choice. Not only that, but the Fool owns shares. Google is a Rule Breakers recommendation. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a fan of dumb and smart business moves. Investors can learn plenty from both. Hdoes not own shares in any of the stocks in this story. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.


Read/Post Comments (3) | Recommend This Article (5)

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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.

  • Report this Comment On February 13, 2009, at 4:06 PM, retry77 wrote:

    Huge sell off on RIMM based on news that they would be at the lower end of guidance? Most, these days can't even meet guidance. After RIMM dropped $10, I slipped in and bought. Now it's on the way up again.

  • Report this Comment On February 13, 2009, at 4:10 PM, CmonMan wrote:

    "....it is hooking smart phone users to long-term contracts.....just gave smart investors the perfect opportunity to finally buy into RIM." RIMM makes less than 15% of its revenue from service contracts. The majority of its revenues come from devices -- one time -- done. Sure they can upgrade but that's not why you own RIMM. We can argue back and forth about wether the new strategy will work and if margins come back (not likely) but the idea that all these subs will benefit them in the future is false. Verizon on the other hand....

  • Report this Comment On February 13, 2009, at 7:09 PM, SPPUHR wrote:

    Howard says sandwich and McDonalds competition is not our future/problem..then value pairings?

    Howard says a couple of weeks ago that innovation is being push into the future....breakthrough with instant coffee?

    This is like a 44 year old quarterback with a bum leg calling a naked bootleg on the 50 yard line and its fourth and goal!

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