Mind-bottling, isn't it?
"Yeah, mind-bottling," explains Chazz Michael Michaels (Will Ferrell) in Blades of Glory. "You know, when things are so crazy it gets your thoughts all trapped, like in a bottle?"
We can laugh at the eclectic ice skater's misinterpretation of mind-boggling. It makes good comedy.
But then again, investing is often a mind-bottling experience.
How often do you buy a stock you think is about to go off like a bottle rocket, only to see the short wick fizzle out? How often do you avoid a stock because you think it's overvalued, only to see it soar even higher?
Mind-bottling stocks can go both ways. Three stocks that stay "trapped, like in a bottle," despite what appear to be clear catalysts for appreciation, continue to confound me. Let me know if you have more.
Great Wolf Resorts
I thought that I had found the perfect leisure play when I recommended shares of Great Wolf to Rule Breakers newsletter subscribers two years ago, shortly after its well-received IPO.
The company runs a fast-growing chain of family-friendly lodges, anchored by massive indoor water parks. The concept may sound goofy to anyone who has never stayed at one or driven through the Wisconsin Dells, where it's thriving.
Great Wolf is the industry leader, expanding its upscale resorts throughout the country. It's been busy at Great Wolf lately. This morning it announced it would open a unit in North Carolina. Last night it announced it had entered into a letter of intent for a Great Wolf in Connecticut.
Growing a hospitality chain quickly doesn't come cheap, so I can forgive the company's lackluster financial performance. Moving into more affluent -- and less crowded -- markets will help grow the nightly rates.
In these uncertain times, where pesky gas prices find families tapping credit lines for road trips, it's great to see a lodging concept that becomes the destination itself. I think Wall Street will eventually come around to loving the stock, even if it was booted from the Rule Breakers scorecard last summer after a string of disappointing events.
It just looks too good at this point, despite the market's apathy that has kept the shares in the low teens for ages. If an upscale hotelier looking for a way into the family lodging industry doesn't snap up Great Wolf -- or perhaps even a Disney
I've been a fan of Marchex for a few years now. I'm still waiting for the payoff. The company is a dot-com real estate baron, with an enviable portfolio of roughly 200,000 valuable domain names. The company has spent the past few quarters milking its virtual realty, monetizing its domains more effectively than the simple ad-laden landing pages it used to watch over.
Creating content that's actually worth bookmarking is helping. Earlier this week, the company announced that average revenue-per-click throughout its network was up by better than 30%. There is a lot more to the Marchex story than its domains. It runs several subsidiaries that specialize in local search. Yes, it's a hot market, but try telling that to investors in companies like Marchex and Local.com
You're not supposed to fall for consumer electronics. Best Buy
OK, but tell me, why is Hastings still stuck in the single digits? The company's latest quarterly report is as strong as Circuit City's wasn't. It had blowout results in all its categories beyond the obvious dips in CD sales and DVD rentals.
The stock is trading at just 11 times what the only analyst following the company expects it to earn this year. Why is there just one major analyst following a consistently profitable media retailer? Why is it trading at such a low earnings multiple?
Mind-bottling, I'd say.
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz believes that Will Ferrell is finding his way into every possible movie. He owns shares in Disney. He is part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a buttered-popcorn disclosure policy.