Stupidity is contagious -- even respectable companies can catch it. As we do every week, let's look at five dumb financial events from this past week that may make your head spin.
1. Open and shut Steelcase
If there was truth in advertising, McDonald's (NYSE: MCD ) would probably want to rethink its former "I'm lovin' it" campaign. In a realization from a recent poll that probably won't come as a surprise to anyone, the perceived quality of the chain's burgers isn't very high.
Consumer Reports polled 32,405 subscribers on their fast food experiences, asking them to rank their dining experiences of flagship items. When it comes to hamburgers, McDonald's ranked dead last of the 21 leading burger chains. On a scale of 1 to 10 based on deliciousness with higher being better, McDonald's averaged a score of 5.8. That compares to some of the cult favorites at the top of the list including In-N-Out and Five Guys that scored 8.0 and 7.9, respectively.
McDonald's has never been critically acclaimed for the quality of its signature burgers, but the recent wave of discontent with the deliciousness of the food could explain why stateside comps have fallen in the past three quarters.
2. CAMP out
CalAmp (NASDAQ: CAMP ) shares tumbled 13% on Wednesday after posting an uninspiring quarterly report. The actual quarter was decent, but it was lackluster guidance that sent investors scrambling for the exits.
Weakness at its satellite business has been holding back the growth at its wireless datacom segment, and the company that's often seen as the poster child for the "machine to machine" revolution isn't living up to lofty expectations. Analysts were holding out for a profit of $0.22 a share on $62.5 million in revenue during its new quarter, but that's more than even the high end of the new guidance it offered this week of $0.21 a share in profitability with a top line of $61 million.
3. Facebook gets creepier
It seems as if the only threat that Facebook (NASDAQ: FB ) is facing these days is Facebook itself. The social networking giant with more than 1.2 billion users has some serious explaining to do after a recently published study in an academic journal discusses a social experiment that the site pulled on 689,003 unsuspecting users two years ago.
University researchers working with a Facebook data scientists tweaked the News Feed of updates that select users were seeing. It offered upbeat or sad status updates first to gauge if that would influence the tone of their subsequent status updates. Spoiler alert: it did.
The study happened in a single week in early 2012, but it's just coming to light now. Facebook's terms of service point out how user data can be used for the sake of internal research. However, the distrust between the site and its user base is only going to grow after this recent revelation.
COO Sheryl Sandberg was apologetic on Wednesday, conceding that the situation was poorly communicated to its users. The apology was a smart move on Sandberg's part, but it's not going to help with the perception that Facebook is taking advantage of its situation.
4. Sea dog
SeaWorld Entertainment (NYSE: SEAS ) is at it again. The marine life theme park operator is turning to Groupon this week to offer up marked down season passes to its Florida attractions. The Fun Card deal -- offering buyers unlimited visits to either SeaWorld Orlando or Busch Gardens for $75 -- is a discount from the regular price of $101.18 for the Fun Card that's available to locals.
Offering unlimited visits just as the seasonally potent summer quarter is kicking off seems desperate. Attendance across all of its parks slumped 4% last year, bucking the trend of higher turnstile clicks at its theme park and regional amusement park peers. Attendance plummeted 13% during the first quarter, but the timing of the Easter holiday played a part in that double-digit drop (something that should have reversed itself during the second quarter with Easter landing in April this time around). However, SeaWorld turning to a flash sale to drum up attendance during the latter half of 2014 suggests that traffic has been sluggish during the start of the summer season.
5. Flying low
Nearly everyone is allowed to get publicly excited about how their country is advancing in the World Cup, but you're not supposed to gloat if you're in charge of a major company's social media account.
Netherlands' Royal Dutch Airlines (NASDAQOTH: KLMR ) -- KLM for short -- got a little too pumped about Netherlands beating Mexico to advance this past weekend. It posted "Adios Amigos! #NEDMEX" on Twitter, along with a photograph featuring a Departures sign with a caricature of a mustachioed man wearing a sombrero.
KLM deleted the tweet when it began to face a backlash after going viral, but even U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard couldn't save the air carrier from the poor judgment exercised in creating the post in the first place.
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