3 Stocks Ignoring the Dow's Bounce

Since plunging from recent highs following the presidential election -- and then staging a brief rally -- the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) hasn't really been able to mount a campaign to get very far above the 13,000 level. It crossed that threshold once again yesterday, rising 86 points to close at 13,034, but if past is prologue, we should see it dip very soon below that mark once again.

Yet here are three companies that beat the Dow to the punch. Where the index rose sharply, this group fell hard, significantly underperforming the market.

Company

Change

TIBCO Software (NASDAQ: TIBX  )

(19.1%)

Pandora Media (NYSE: P  )

(17.5%)

Freeport-McMoRan (NYSE: FCX  )

(16%)

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.

Gathering storm clouds
Movie studios will often bypass critic screenings if they think the film they're releasing is a dog, hoping instead positive word-of-mouth reviews from moviegoers themselves will save their investment. TIBCO Software might have tried that route as it unveiled fourth quarter guidance that met with howls of derision from investors who tossed rotten tomatoes at the screen.

The cloud-computing software specialist forecast revenue would be in the range of $292 million to $295 million, well below the $316 million Wall Street was expecting, while adjusted earnings per share would be either $0.37 or $0.38, again falling short of the $0.44 mark that had been anticipated. It blamed superstorm Sandy in part for its shortfall, saying the hurricane delayed deals that otherwise would have been made, though government spending pullbacks also played a role.

Last quarter Europe was a source of strength, even as industry peers like Informatica (NASDAQ: INFA  ) stumbled there. That remains true this time around, but TIBCO previously got rid of their North American president because of sagging results here at home. As that still seems to be the case, who will they blame this time around? Seems someone else might have egg on their face.

Releasing evil on the world
Internet radio operator Pandora Media's own fourth quarter outlook didn't open to rave reviews, either, as it says losses will mount to $0.09 to $0.12 a share rather than the previously forecast loss of $0.04 to $0.08. It also lowered its full-year revenue forecast to a range of $422 million to $425 million.

Last time out, the market thought Pandora had found some magical elixir that would suddenly put it on the road to profitability. But, as I noted, the adjustments simply came from stock options -- not anything having to do with its actual business. Content acquisition costs continue to rise, those listeners who do subscribe generate little if any money, and now competition from Sirius XM Radio (NASDAQ: SIRI  ) and Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) will further pressure its ability to make money.

Since its IPO, I've had an underperform rating on Pandora Media on Motley Fool CAPS, the 180,000-member  investor community that translates informed opinion into stock ratings of one to five stars. The Internet radio station's one-star rating suggests most members don't see much of a future for it, either. With its stock down 57% since I first weighed in on it last year compared to a 7% rise in the S&P 500, I don't see any catalyst for change that would have me switch my rating on it.

Drilling deep for value
Copper mining is losing its patina while oil exploration continues to offer up rich prospects. If once in the past you dug deep for both, why not go back to those days and recapture your early glory? Such is apparently the thinking at Freeport-McMoRan, which announced its intention to buy ultra-deep water driller McMoRan Exploration (NYSE: MMR  ) and Plains Exploration & Production (UNKNOWN: PXP.DL2  ) .

There are few companies in the world that exhibit such duality, but BHP Billiton (NYSE: BHP  ) has been a premier mining giant with deep exposure to drilling, and Freeport's acquisitions would rank it high in that class. Despite that, investors are worried about this change in focus. Not exactly a bait-and-switch, but an oil drilling operation isn't what they bought in to and Plains' exposure to the natural gas markets has it buying into another depressed industry (and the stock is down another 3% in early morning trading on Thursday).

Some analysts think the $9 billion bid is a bit of a low-ball offer for Plains assets, notwithstanding the gas business, and believe there may be agitation to pay up more. I think Freeport will overcome the doubts, so I'm rating it to outperform the market averages on CAPS. Let me know in the comments section if you agree.

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

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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 December 06, 2012, at 4:58 PM, seadog301100 wrote:

    Those of us who have been with Freeport-Mcmoran as investors are more than a littlle miffed that we have not been at least advised what the powers that be had in mind spending 20billion in an entirely different industry. Those big mgmt. increases also need explaination.

  • Report this Comment On December 08, 2012, at 4:55 AM, lowmaple wrote:

    Of course they want to diversify and mute the bust and boom earnings. We'll see.

  • Report this Comment On December 08, 2012, at 5:57 AM, NOTvuffett wrote:

    I am so pissed about this FCX deal. MMR hasn't been a profitable business since it was spun off years ago. How can FCX's management justify paying a 74% premium for it? When I invest in energy related stocks, I prefer to buy ones that are profitable, lol.

    Most people that invest in mining stocks realize it is a cyclical business and that is part of the reason to own them in the first place. You get fairly frequent entry and exit points for trading. The Yahoo finance website lists FCX's current beta as 2.29.

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