Two full months are now in the books, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average still hasn't logged a triple-digit down day. For optimists, these rallies may seem like a dream come true. For skeptics like me, they're opportunities to see whether these companies have actually earned their current valuations.
Keep in mind that some companies do deserve their current valuations. Online auction site eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY ) is being bid to new highs on the optimistic view that a revolution toward mobile computing is going to revolutionize its business and open its PayPal payment platform to broader markets.
Still, other companies might deserve a kick in the pants. Here's a look at three companies that could be worth selling.
Goodbye, baby; goodbye, bathwater
I've been just waiting patiently for business-to-business software provider BroadVision (Nasdaq: BVSN ) to get near its 52-week high so I could include it in this weekly series. The company has been a favorite of day traders during the first two months of the year despite the fact that revenue has fallen from $416 million in 2000 to just $17.6 million in 2011. The company is sitting on $54.4 million in cash, but it's rapidly burning through that with each quarterly loss.
The reason for the run-up is speculated to be former stock promoter Jonathan Lebed making it his No. 1 stock pick for 2012. BroadVision's low float provides anyone with a large cash hoard the ability to move the stock. Although, no amount of promotion can hide BroadVision's awful earnings results or its CEO's inability to successfully navigate a turnaround. If you're interested in a closer look at BroadVision, I suggest you read my take on the company from early February.
Get your eyes checked
Although some of you might feel you have 20-20, or even 20-15 vision, if you're optimistic about laser vision correction services company LCA-Vision (Nasdaq: LCAV ) , I suggest you get a second opinion.
I recall back in the early to mid 2000s when laser correction procedures were all the rage. Competition for these procedures was relatively low, which meant companies could boast high prices and pad their bottom line. This isn't the case anymore. LCA has seen revenue drop at an annualized rate of 23% since 2007. Its 3.2% rise in revenue this year actually broke a three-year streak of contraction.
Also, as is to be expected when revenue contracts so severely, the company hasn't been profitable. Yet investors have moved the stock remarkably higher on speculation that LCA's worst could be behind it. I'm just not sure about that. The company has had to rein in marketing costs and close underperforming locations just to get close to breakeven, and even then still can't turn a profit. Four straight years of losses and six years in a row of declining book value are enough for me to throw in the towel.
No, this isn't an I Love Lucy commercial, but Vitacost.com (Nasdaq: VITC ) may have investors drunk on the anticipation that it will be able to cash in on the health-food and vitamin craze sweeping the nation. There's just one problem with that: Consumers are fickle and brand loyalty is almost nonexistent in the weight-loss management sector.
As I mentioned last week, one of the reasons NutriSystem's (Nasdaq: NTRI ) stock price seems to vacillate so much is because it doesn't have any real brand loyalty behind its product. Most clients tend to use the system for only a few months. There's nothing I see that will differentiate Vitacost.com from any other vitamin and health-food retailer out there. Through the first nine months of 2011, Vitacost's cash flow worsened to an outflow of $11.2 million from an outflow of $4.5 million in the year-ago period. I'm not sure when Vitacost.com will be profitable again, but for the time being I'd consider putting a childproof top on this stock.
Sometimes small-cap stocks make the most obvious sell candidates because they often have lower floats and are more prone to emotional trading. These three could be perfect candidates to cast aside based on their worsening fundamentals. I'm so confident in my three calls that I plan to make a CAPScall of underperform on each one. The question now is: Would you do the same?
Share your thoughts in the comments section below and consider using the links below to add these three stocks to your free and personalized watchlist so you can keep track of the latest news with each company. Also, to avoid investing in stocks like these, consider getting a copy of our special report "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2012." In it, our chief investment officer details a play he dubbed the "Costco of Latin America." Best of all, this report is free for a limited time, so don't miss out!