Yesterday's list of most actively traded stocks was ripe with the usual suspects. Lucent
The maker of video surveillance equipment soared just over 50%. But if you're guessing a buyout or a breakthrough in showercam technology, you are sorely mistaken. The move was the work of a passing reference by Department of Homeland Security honcho Tom Ridge.
Speaking at the Tennessee Valley Technology Corridor Summit yesterday, Ridge chose to play to the locals by throwing some props to area companies that were aiding the country's defense efforts. "ORNL is an important player -- along with local companies such as IPIX, ORTEC, NucSafe, REMOTEC, and AquaSentinel -- in our effort to build a vast R&D infrastructure to protect the homeland," Ridge lauded.
You could feel the mad rush of folks hooking up to their online brokers and placing buy orders for whatever company O-R-N-L would bring up. Thankfully they were spared further embarrassment when they discovered that there was no such stock. Oak Ridge National Laboratory is not, and probably never will be publicly traded.
Just feel fortunate that Oily Rats Not Leeches or Origami Rectangles Need Lines never filed to go public. Some people would have had a lot of explaining to do for sidestepping due diligence. As fate would have it, IPIX does share its name with its ticker, and so away the stock went, tacking on $66 million in market cap on that lone mention in Ridge's speech. Powerful guy. Pitiful public.
I mean, we're talking about a company that posted a loss of $3.6 million this past quarter on a mere $0.7 million in revenues, and whose CEO nonetheless admitted he was "very pleased" with the results. This was a company that reported $9.3 million in revenue last year, with $8 million of that coming from a one-time licensing fee. It also lost eBay
And yet, you may be familiar with IPIX. Surf online long enough and you're bound to find yourself enjoying its 360 degrees of photo-roving freedom. And the company's prospects may well be on the verge of improving as that technology gels into defense surveillance. Just last week, our own Tom Taulli mentioned IPIX in a more detailed look at the sector. The stock didn't budge then. Guess it just needed a different Tom -- or at the very least a good grass roots mowing -- to get rolling.
IPIX will have a decent story to tell if defense contractors line up to buy its spherical cameras. But for those who bought yesterday on a wing and a prayer, you deserve every delicious downtick if the future doesn't pan. Granted, that's a bit much, but really, that is no way to invest. At Motley Fool Hidden Gems, we discuss upstarts like these for weeks before pulling the trigger, if ever. That way, we get the thrill of the hunt and still sleep at night.
IPIX is kissing the ground at its Oak Ridge headquarters right now. Great city, sure, but not likely worth a $66 million markup.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz really does have a breakthrough in showercam technology. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story.