This Week's 5 Dumbest Stock Moves

Stupidity is contagious -- even respectable companies can catch it. As we do every week, let's take a look at five dumb financial events this week that may make your head spin.

1. Midnight madness
There's never a good time to deliver bad news, but Education Management  (NASDAQ: EDMC  )  kicks off this week's list of five dumb moves for its decision.

"Hey, do you think anyone will notice if we try to push out our earnings release at midnight on Wednesday?" someone in the boardroom may have suggested. And no one argued otherwise.

The post-secondary educator's quarter was a dud. Revenue slipped 7% as enrollments continued to decline. It also had to write down a whopping $509.2 million in asset-deflating charges. Looking out to the current quarter, Education Management now sees a loss. Analysts were holding out for a profit. 

The sly midnight release didn't fool the market. The stock plunged 28% on Thursday.

2. Pasta la vista
Another less-than-inspiring quarterly report came from Noodles & Co. (NASDAQ: NDLS  ) . The fast-casual chain which serves up noodles in several international incarnations saw its revenue rise 10%, but that's not good news when you learn that the number of company-owned locations has increased 17% over the past year.

Noodles & Co. suffered a 1.6% decline in systemwide comps. The dip happened despite a 2.2% increase in prices, illustrating that the chain may have a problem drawing diners. It blames the weather for the setback, but we've already seen some eateries hold up better than that. Noodles & Co. was a blazing IPO last year on the premise that it was a hot concept. We're still waiting for proof. 

3. There's nothing good on TV
It's been nearly two years since Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) brought in TV-industry vet Nancy Tellem to be its president of entertainment and digital, tasked with making Xbox Live more compelling to video buffs through original programming. Microsoft finally announced the slate of shows that will be available for Xbox 360, Xbox One, and other Microsoft device users starting next month. It's not very compelling.

For starters, the only content coming next month will be a live stream of the Bonnaroo festival and a reality show series on street soccer around the world. A documentary on how Atari had to bury millions of unsold E.T. video game cartridges in a landfill will air later this year, but scripted shows won't be out until at least next year. Microsoft is moving too slow in an industry that's growing fast. 

4. Avon stalling
Avon (NYSE: AVP  )  has spent decades making its customers look good, but now they're not returning the favor. Avon shares plunged on Thursday after the door-to-door seller of cosmetics and housewares posted smeared financials.

Revenue fell 11% as continuing domestic weakness compounded its slumping international presence. Avon saw its adjusted profit cut in half to $0.12 a share, well shy of the $0.21 per share that Wall Street was holding out for. Is it too late to add more concealer?

5. Fiber diet
JDS Uniphase  (NASDAQ: JDSU  )  also let investors down with its quarterly results. The fiber optics specialist earned $0.10 per share, with revenue inching 3% higher to $418 million. Analysts were holding out for a profit of $0.11 a share on $431 million in revenue. 

"Our fiscal third quarter revenue was affected by later-than-expected carrier orders," its CEO explains. But if telecom companies were late in placing orders, why is JDS Uniphase also lowering its forecast for the current quarter? JDS Uniphase should bounce back as the economy improves, but it didn't live up to expectations this time around. 

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