3 Stocks Ignoring the Dow's Bounce

Well, that was close. For a while there it looked that the market might be worried the looming fiscal cliff would wreck the economy, but in one of its best days in months, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI  ) rallied 207 points, or 1.6%, as both sides in the country's fiscal (mis)management signal that the worst may be over.

Financial stocks rallied, with Dow component Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) up 4% -- there wasn't a single Dow laggard today -- and tech stocks surged, too, with Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) jumping 7% and Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  ) rising 3.5%. Even Intel (Nasdaq: INTC  ) managed to tick higher.

Yet as good as things were on the day, not every stock did well, and the three following companies managed to actually fall, with Diamond Foods (Nasdaq: DMND  ) plummeting by double-digit percentages.

Company

% Change

Diamond Foods

(11.8%)

Safe Bulkers (NYSE: SB  )

(4.9%)

ZAGG (Nasdaq: ZAGG  )

(3.8%

Now, don't go running over the cliff with them like a bunch of lemmings: It could just be a temporary situation. Let's first see whether they had good reason to fall, as panic-fueled routs can sometimes lead to excellent buying opportunities.

The cookie's crumbling
The sell-off in Diamond Foods shares yesterday was its third straight day of decline after restating earnings back to 2010 because of improper payments it made to walnut growers. While it also led to the firing of its CEO and CFO, it ended up wiping out more than $56 million in profits  and caused it to lose out on the acquisition of the Pringles business from Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG  ) .

Diamond's stock tumbled 20% on Thursday following the restatement and then dropped another 1.5% on Friday before falling 12% yesterday. As sharp as the cuts were, however, more fatal may have been watching Kellogg (NYSE: K  ) grab the potato chip prize and tripling the size of its snack division this past summer. Diamond's plans of becoming the second-biggest snack-foods company behind PepsiCo's (NYSE: PEP  ) Frito Lay division were left broken.

I had thought Diamond's restatement would be cathartic for it, a spur to advance with the imbroglio behind it. Perhaps it will still serve as a catalyst of sorts, but by making it into a takeover target itself. Tell me in the comments section below whether you think Diamond Foods will turn out to be a gem of a stock once again.

All wet
Safe Bulkers is another stock that's had multiday drops in value, and its shares are off 28% since last Wednesday after cutting its dividend in the wake of a charter market that's just not holding up. The dividend has been slashed from $0.15 per share down to just $0.05, despite having beaten top- and bottom-line estimates.

Prices in the industry have plunged even more than Safe Bulkers' stock, and it noted that Panamax ships are losing value, which is creating a huge hole it has to plug. It has 24 such ships in its fleet and estimates they lost $150 million in value. It's not going to get any better, either, as it's called 2013 another possible "lost year" and figures the world financial crisis isn't instilling any confidence either.

DryShips (Nasdaq: DRYS  ) is down nearly as much as Safe Bulkers over the past week, losing 24% of its market cap, while Teekay Tankers (NYSE: TNK  ) saw 16% of its value disappear.

The shipping industry has run aground, and there are going to be more companies sinking down to Davy Jones' Locker. It's just not a place you'd want to put your money in at this time. Or is it? With all these discounted shippers, tell me in the comments box below if you'd sail off with one of them.

Grinding to a halt
Just the other day I suggested that ZAGG, the maker of protective gear for your electronic gadgets, shouldn't be relied upon to protect your investment in its stock. It's still suffering the lingering fallout of executive shenanigans related to its former CEO who pledged company stock and got caught in a margin call. While such events are regrettable, ZAGG has compounded the error by being less than forthright in its disclosures.

There's no catalyst here for a turnaround yet, and its rival OtterBox recently wrapped up Wrapsol, another maker of protective films and cases for smartphones, tablets, and e-readers. While the mobile-phone market continues to show strength, protective gear for it would seem to have a similarly strong outlook. But with products that are commoditized, it won't do for one of the leaders to be mired in lawsuits and investigations while the competition consolidates its muscle. I continue to think we'll see ZAGG trend down from here until these matters are fully resolved, but that leaves it further behind OtterBox and others.

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  • Report this Comment On November 21, 2012, at 12:25 PM, gametv wrote:

    Once again Rich Duprey at the Motley Fool is out trying to bash Zagg. He is claiming that OtterBox is a major competitor to Zagg. Otterbox doesn't have keyboards, they dont have mobile power, they only have cases. Looking through their press releases, I dont even see a mention of distribution in major retailers. The fact that Wrapsol got purchased by OtterBox tells me that Wrapsol was failing as a company and picked up cheap. It would have been a much bigger problem if Wrapsol got purchased by a larger company like Logitech with strong distribution in major retailers.

    And then Duprey goes on to use the same old short-bashing technique of citing a company "mired in lawsuits and investigations". The total exposure of zagg to any lawsuits is $250,000 - after that their D&O policy covers it. The management team is clearly moving forward with strong new product offering and distribution gains, so where is the evidence of a company "mired"?

    Really, is this the best argument you can make for trashing zagg? Come on, motley fool, you ought to hire someone who can better hide his bashing intentions in a cogent argument. The count-down to the end of the short reign is on. tick-tock, tick-tock.

    Of course, the shorts are good for one thing, they have created a great opportunity to buy at a cheap price, which is exactly what I am doing over the next month. Let's see who is right in February, after the Q4 earnings release.

  • Report this Comment On November 21, 2012, at 2:35 PM, TMFCop wrote:

    gametv,

    While ZAGG believes it's total exposure is only $250k, let's hope that's the case. D&O policies are not sacrosanct and insurance companies can avoid liability when there are losses due to dishonest or fraudulent acts or omission, or willful violations of any statute, rule or law.

    I think ZAGG is walking a very fine line on this, so I'm not so sure I'd be putting 100% faith in its D&O policies to protect them.

    And as I note in the article, it's products are essentially commodities. There's no moat to protect others from moving in, and in fact others are.

    It's fine to have a different investment opinion than I do, but don't get so emotionally tied to your stocks. And FWIW, I'm not short ZAGG and in fact I don't short stocks period.

    Rich

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