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.
The Jamba Juice parent now sees comps for all of 2013 coming in between flat and up 1%. This is well shy of the 4% to 6% uptick in same-store sales it was forecasting just two months ago. As comps were already up nearly 3% through the first half of the year, we're heading into a rough balance for the year.
Jamba also initiated guidance for 2014 that is remarkably upbeat, but who are we kidding? If Jamba didn't have two months of visibility now, can investors really expect a clear snapshot of where it will be 15 months from now? It's not a surprise that two analysts downgraded the once-resilient smoothie chain on the report.
2. Not-so-solid state
Making up for lost time, OCZ Technology's (NASDAQ: OCZ ) financial printer got overly ambitious.
The provider of solid-state drives reported its financials for its fiscal first quarter that ended in May. It also offered up previously unreported financials for the final three quarters of fiscal 2013, as well as revised financials dating all the way back to fiscal 2009.
In all of the excitement of the free-flowing financials, OCZ's fiscal second-quarter results for the quarter that ended in August were published before they were ready. "The filing was not authorized by OCZ and investors should not rely on the information in the Form 10Q for the period," explains OCZ's press release. "Much of the information in the document that was filed is not accurate and the document omits material information that is required to be included in a Form 10-Q."
After OCZ was late with so much of its bean counting, investors had to know it was too good to be true.
3. Penney laying
Shares of J.C. Penney (NYSE: JCP ) moved higher on Tuesday after the company reported that same-store sales declined by just 4% in September.
The market clearly sees this as welcome news, but that's just silly. Yes, J.C. Penney's store-level exodus is decelerating. However, until it turns positive, we're still talking about a company that is worse off than it was a year ago. The endangered department store chain didn't post monthly comps last year, but same-store sales for the quarter did plunge 26%.
J.C. Penney's release begins by pointing out that it's "making solid progress in its turnaround," but how can this be interpreted as a sign of a turnaround when we're talking about another period of year-over-year declining sales?
4. You're not going to like the way this looks -- I guarantee it
Once again, the Men's Wearhouse (NYSE: TLRD ) board of directors has some explaining to do: The suit retailer rebuffed an unsolicited $2.3 billion buyout offer.
"After careful review and deliberation, our Board of Directors has determined that Jos. A. Bank's proposal significantly undervalues Men's Wearhouse and fails to reflect the Company's growth strategy and upside potential," the board's lead director is quoted in the press release explaining why it rejected the deal to snap up the chain at $48 a share.
Really? These kinds of rejections should be accompanied by board resignations. After all, if the board believes that a buyout at a 36% premium undervalues the company, what can be said about its performance in making it worth far less than that?
Men's Wearhouse's board didn't win too many fans when it parted ways with founder George Zimmer this summer. Its last quarter was a stock-thumping disappointment, actually blaming brides-to-be supposedly avoiding getting married in a year ending in the number 13 for sluggish tux rentals -- which made classic fodder for this weekly column.
Just take the money, Men's Wearhouse. You're going to like the way that looks. I guarantee it.
5. Apple crumble
The PC is showing signs of life in this country, but not if you're Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL ) . Shipments in the third quarter slipped just 0.2%, according to industry watcher IDC. However, that showing would've been positive if not for an 11.2% slide in Apple Mac and MacBooks. Back out Apple from the mix, and domestic shipments actually rose 1.5% relative to last year's third quarter.
Apple's PC business has been sliding lately. Only the tech giant's iPhone business posted positive year-over-year growth in its most recent quarter. However, it's still a shock to see the halo effect that served Macs so well during the iPod heyday disappear with the iPhone as popular as it is these days.
One can always argue that Apple is doing the right thing by sticking to high-margin products, refusing to enter the price wars of the competition. However, as it loses market share across its categories while closing in on another quarter of declining earnings growth, one has to wonder if it's missing out on an opportunity to cash in on the PC revival.
Overcome these five dumb moves by making six smart ones
Tired of watching your stocks creep up year after year at a glacial pace? Motley Fool co-founder David Gardner, founder of the No. 1 growth stock newsletter in the world, has developed a unique strategy for uncovering truly wealth-changing stock picks -- and he wants to share it, along with a few of his favorite growth stock superstars, with you. It's a special free report called "6 Picks for Ultimate Growth." So stop settling for index-hugging gains and click here for instant access to a whole new game plan of stock picks to help power your portfolio.