Will Anyone Learn From Crocs?

Around the office, we often debate which shareholders are the scariest. The Sirius Satellite Radio (Nasdaq: SIRI  ) crowd is a doozy. Ditto the thick glasses, basement-dwelling multimeter-wielding mob that adores AMD (NYSE: AMD  ) . However, Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) fans usually top the list: Even when you compliment the company, you get hate mail from select iNutsos for not being adequately worshipful. But over the past few months, the cult of Cupertino has had nothing on devotees of rubber-clog phenom Crocs (Nasdaq: CROX  ) .

The last time I discussed the company, I pointed to some pretty obvious problems, foremost among them that it carried a market cap equal to about 20% of Nike's (NYSE: NKE  ) , while producing not even 5% of Nike's revenues.

The next day, my inbox was full of poorly spelled missives with the usual protests, most of which added up to, "You just don't get it." Sadly, this response is typical for the blurry-eyed followers of a momentum darling, especially one that more seasoned stock watchers have pegged as overvalued.

As the stock keeps climbing, it only reinforces the notion among the faithful that anyone who says the stock is too pricey is wrong and will always be wrong. The rising price is proof that their visions of world domination are correct, and that usual metrics simply don't matter. Fans of Jones Soda (Nasdaq: JSDA  ) were saying the same things a few months and 60% ago.

Over the past few trading days, Crocs has finally pulled its own Jones, and we found out just how painful it is when reality bites a fluffed-up phenom. Well, not all of us -- only those silly enough to have been buying and holding a fad shoemaker trading at several times the reasonable rate for such a biz.

What was the problem? Not much, really, just a slight revenue "miss." But when a stock is going up just because it keeps going up, a whiff like that is all it takes to send the fast-money crowd on Wall Street out the door. If you folks playing the home game think you can beat the smart, computer-powered money to the exits, you need to quit huffing those "Croslite" fumes. Oh, and you might ponder the fact that insiders dumped nearly $400 million worth of their holdings over the past year.

Wall Street offers many pungent ways for the ignorant and naive to give their money to those who know better and trade faster. The wickedly overpriced growth story is a classic. Keep that in mind when the next Crocs rolls around -- there's already a great contender in Lululemon athletica (Nasdaq: LULU  ) -- or you too may find yourself sitting on a near 50% loss over five short trading days.

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