This Week's 5 Dumbest Stock Moves

These five companies got it wrong this week.

Jun 6, 2014 at 5:17PM

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

1. Sam Walton shakes his head 
Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) has had a rough run heading into Friday's annual shareholder meeting. The discounter has posted five consecutive quarters of negative comps, and activists are getting vocal about what they think Wal-Mart should be paying and providing for its employees. 

You would expect a company that has seen its stock essentially spinning in place over the past year as its fundamentals slip to be humble, but that's not Wal-Mart at all. In fact, it set up merchandise at a pair of its company stores near the meeting to sell to its investors. We're talking about caps, mugs, lanyards, and T-shirts that read "Walmart SHAREHOLDER." The shirts are just $6, but that's still a gutsy move by a company whose recent performance doesn't seem to create much of an incentive for stakeholders to brag.

2. Sea no evil
TEA/AECOM put out its annual theme park attendance report. SeaWorld (NYSE:SEAS) is the only major North American operator to post a decline in turnstile clicks. That's not a surprise: SeaWorld itself told us that it suffered a 4.1% dip in attendance for 2013. 

However, the report did break out its attendance estimates for some of the chain's most popular attractions. SeaWorld Orlando fell 5%, SeaWorld California was off by 3%, Busch Gardens Williamsburg dipped 4.5%, Aquatica rose 1%, and Adventure Island slipped 2%.

The reason this makes the cut is the quote that SeaWorld spokesman Nick Gollattscheck gave to the Orlando Sentinel on the individual numbers: "While we do not report our numbers on a park-by-park basis, it is worth noting that the actual attendance was significantly higher than the estimates at some of our parks in the 2013 report," he said.

Really? SeaWorld already told us that overall attendance fell 4.1%. The average of the three theme parks and two water parks singled out in the report is already better than the overall figure. Is actual attendance really "significantly" higher?

3. Veer away from this stock
Vera Bradley
(NASDAQ:VRA) is carrying some serious baggage. The maker of the colorful and once-trendy suitcases and other stylish accessories saw sales slip 8% in its latest quarter to $113.5 million. That's not good, and it's exacerbated by Vera Bradley itself forecasting $116 million to $120 million in revenue earlier this year.

Earnings fell even harder, but profitability actually exceeded Wall Street expectations. However, with Vera Bradley stunning analysts with guidance calling for a drop in revenue for the entire fiscal year, it's easy to see why shareholders feel as if they were the ones left holding the bag. 

4. This workout isn't working out
Shares of Life Time Fitness (NYSE:LTM) fell 12% on Thursday after a pair of analysts cooled on the fitness center operator after it hosted an event for Wall Street pros.

William Blair and Piper Jaffray soured on the former gym beau after checking out Life Time's Analyst Day. Piper Jaffray lowered its rating from outperform to neutral, and William Blair hosed down its profit outlook.

The first rule of Analyst Day is that you don't disappoint the analysts.

5. Hertz, don't it?
Bean counters don't always get it right the first time -- or the second. Hertz Global Holdings (NYSE:HTZ) had already delayed its Q1 filing last month after spotting accounting errors with the capitalization and timing of depreciation for certain non-fleet assets, allowances for doubtful accounts in Brazil, and other items. Now the rental car giant is delaying its report again after spotting even more accounting flubs.

Hertz will be restating the past three years of financials. Looks like we need a designated driver in the accounting department.

Your credit card may soon be completely worthless
The plastic in your wallet is about to go the way of the typewriter, the VCR, and the 8-track tape player. When it does, a handful of investors could stand to get very rich. You can join them -- but you must act now. An eye-opening new presentation reveals the full story on why your credit card is about to be worthless -- and highlights one little-known company sitting at the epicenter of an earth-shaking movement that could hand early investors the kind of profits we haven't seen since the dot-com days. Click here to watch this stunning video.

Rick Munarriz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Hertz Global Holdings. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Money to your ears - A great FREE investing resource for you

The best way to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as “binge-worthy finance.”

Feb 1, 2016 at 5:03PM

Whether we're in the midst of earnings season or riding out the market's lulls, you want to know the best strategies for your money.

And you'll want to go beyond the hype of screaming TV personalities, fear-mongering ads, and "analysis" from people who might have your email address ... but no track record of success.

In short, you want a voice of reason you can count on.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich," rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

And one of the easiest, most enjoyable, most valuable ways to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as "binge-worthy finance."

Whether you make it part of your daily commute or you save up and listen to a handful of episodes for your 50-mile bike rides or long soaks in a bubble bath (or both!), the podcasts make sense of your money.

And unlike so many who want to make the subjects of personal finance and investing complicated and scary, our podcasts are clear, insightful, and (yes, it's true) fun.

Our free suite of podcasts

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. The show is also heard weekly on dozens of radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers are timeless, so it's worth going back to and listening from the very start; the other three are focused more on today's events, so listen to the most recent first.

All are available for free at

If you're looking for a friendly voice ... with great advice on how to make the most of your money ... from a business with a lengthy track record of success ... in clear, compelling language ... I encourage you to give a listen to our free podcasts.

Head to, give them a spin, and you can subscribe there (at iTunes, Stitcher, or our other partners) if you want to receive them regularly.

It's money to your ears.


Compare Brokers