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. Tesla heats up and flames out
Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA ) has been one of this year's hottest stocks, but that's not the only thing that's on fire.
A video surfaced of a Tesla Model S that caught on fire. Naturally, car fires happen across all product lines, but the viral video is making the rounds at a bad time, as a Baird downgrade sent the stock lower on Wednesday.
Baird remains bullish on Tesla's long-term prospects but feels that the nearly $25 billion market cap prices in a future that is not free of execution risk.
2. Cook and Icahn break bread
True to his tweet, Carl Icahn did have dinner with Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL ) CEO Tim Cook in September. The duo cut it close, getting together on Monday -- the final day of the month.
The billionaire activist investor told Cook that Apple could return even more money to shareholders, urging the consumer tech giant to devote $150 billion for share repurchases. After the meal, Icahn hit Twitter to let investors know that they will be meeting again in three weeks. As a prolific investor, Icahn is not someone Cook should ignore. However, given Icahn's chatty ways and the media attention he generates, Cook may be boxing himself into a corner by continuing to promise future discussions with him.
So long as you're not Bill Ackman, you can stand up to Cook and win. Unless Apple intends to lay itself at the mercy of Icahn's balance-sheet-depleting suggestions, it may be time to cut those outings short.
3. Angie baby
It's getting cheaper to check out the vetted reviews on Angie's List (NASDAQ: ANGI ) in some markets.
The Wall Street Journal revealed -- and the dot-com speedster confirmed -- that it's starting to test $10 annual memberships for new members in select markets. This is a 75% discount to its regular rate.
We know how these "tests" go. Folks find out. They demand it. It expands. You don't go back to $40 a year without risking defections.
Angie's List always seemed vulnerable to the proliferation of free social sites that aggregate reviews of local venues and service providers. This isn't the start of the end for Angie's List. It should actually lead to an increase in members to populate its site with largely honest reviews. There's also a chance that its push to get in on the eventual transactions as an intermediary will help, though that's hand-dipped in "conflict of interest" sauce.
Angie's List is changing, and investors may not like the outcome.
4. Penney for your thoughts
J.C. Penney (NYSE: JCP ) can't catch a break.
Shares of the fading department store chain hit their lowest levels since 1982. We're talking about an era when it was stocking Members Only jackets, leg warmers, and Jordache denim.
One would think that everyone has soured on J.C. Penney after several quarters of brutal double-digit decimations to its same-store sales, but there always seems to be somebody else to throw in the towel. This week, it was a downgrade to hold by Maxim Group.
As an aside, the former J.C. Penney Outlet chain went under this week. J.C. Penney had sold off the clearance stores two years ago to a new buyer that renamed the concept. We can't blame J.C. Penney for this nugget. However, I point this out only because it seems as if all J.C. Penney stores today will be the J.C. Penney Outlet stores of tomorrow.
5. Team's like old times
Fiscal 2013 was a disappointment for Team (NYSE: TISI ) with adjusted earnings sliding, and things aren't getting a whole lot better in fiscal 2014.
The industrial-services provider reported disappointing quarterly results for its fiscal first quarter, earning $0.23 a share when analysts were braced for a profit of $0.36 a share. Team is also hosing down its outlook.
What's the opposite of Team work?
Now bounce back with some smart stock moves
Have you missed out on the massive gains in bank stocks over the past few years? There's good news: It's not too late. Bargains of a lifetime are still available, but you need to know where to look. The Motley Fool's new report "Finding the Next Bank Stock Home Run" will show you how and where to find these deals. It's completely free -- click here to get started.