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. Fore-gone conclusion
Dick's Sporting Goods' (NYSE: DKS ) shares plunged 18% on Tuesday after the company hosed down its outlook. Negative trends in golf and hunting gear find the sporting goods retailer now targeting an adjusted profit of no more than $2.85 a share. Its earlier guidance was north of $3 a share. It also sees comps clocking in with growth of 1% to 3%, shy of its earlier call for growth of 3% to 4%.
It probably isn't a surprise to see that Dick's also fell short of its sales and earnings expectations for the first quarter. Did lousy weather keep golfers and hunters away, or is this a larger trend against these two sporting goods categories? Investors aren't sticking around to wait for the answer.
It's going to cost a little more to head out to SeaWorld Entertainment's (NYSE: SEAS ) Florida theme parks this summer. SeaWorld increased the price of a one-day ticket for Sea World Orlando or Busch Gardens Tampa by 3% to $95.
It may not seem like much of an increase, but is a day at either park really more valuable than EPCOT, Animal Kingdom, or Disney's Hollywood Studios, which cost a buck less? More importantly, SeaWorld's attendance declined 4% last year, falling 13% during this year's first quarter. Attendance has fallen for four consecutive quarters. A price hike isn't the solution.
3. Chair the meeting
The past few years have been ripe with car, food, and toy recalls, but now we're seeing office chairs having to be called back after defects. Office Depot (NYSE: ODP ) issued a recall on Thursday for 1.4 million Gibson Leather Task Chairs.
Office Depot has received at least 153 complaints of the task chair's plate weld cracking or breaking, and in 25 cases it has resulted in contusions, abrasions, and other injuries. You may have seen people fall from office chairs through their own clumsiness, but it can get scary when the chair's the problem.
4. No one puts eBay in a corner -- unless it's a hacker
The latest big consumer name to get hacked is eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY ) . Hackers breached the online marketplace, obtaining access to information on eBay's 233 million customers. Financial info and passwords are encrypted, but the same can't be said about customer names, emails, addresses, phone numbers, and birthdays.
Data breaches are happening way too often, but eBay makes the cut in this week's list because the hacking began three months ago, was detected two weeks ago, and wasn't announced to the public until Wednesday. In fact, as of late Thursday, eBay had yet to email its users. Folks simply receive the notice when they log on to the site suggesting that they change their passwords. That's bad form, eBay.
5. The HP weigh
Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ ) is looking to get lean. The PC giant announced that it would be slashing thousands of jobs -- as many as 16,000 -- after posting a 1% decline in revenue.
Layoffs are never fun, but HP's slightly lighter-than-expected sales weren't the only surprise. HP released its quarterly report six minutes before the market close on Thursday afternoon, forcing investors to scramble in forming an opinion. HP was supposed to put out its results after the market close. I'm starting to see why Dell decided that it was better to go private.
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