Stupidity is contagious. It gets us all from time to time, and even respectable companies can catch it. As I do every week, I've rounded up five financial events so dumb, they may make your head spin.
1. Let me teach you the sleeper hold
If former wrestler Jesse "The Body" Ventura was able to pull off a colorful political career, why not the CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment
Don't laugh. McMahon will be a serious contender. Her husband Vince may be the charismatic face of the family business, but Linda has been a shrewd chieftain in an industry that continues to thrive. Everybody knows that wrestling is fake, and mixed martial arts leagues are gaining momentum from fans of more realistic bouts, but pro wrestling remains very much in the fight.
World Wrestling Entertainment was the subject of last week's "Throw This Stock Away" column. I think McMahon's move vindicates my bearish thesis. If even the CEO finds politics to be a more appealing arena, what are shareholders sticking around for?
2. When a tablet isn't a tablet
Let's hope it's not too late for Hewlett-Packard
The tablet-like devices admittedly look very cool. They sport flat 10-inch and 13-inch screens, and they're priced comparably to low-end netbooks -- below the $300 mark.
However, these Wi-Fi gadgets only perform a limited number of tasks, such as streaming Internet radio, checking Facebook walls, and browsing photos on HP's own Snapfish. In short, the DreamScreen's really a glorified digital photo frame.
Obviously, HP would have to charge more if it crafted a true computing or Web-browsing device. However, even at $249 and $299, what good is a Web appliance that can't check email or stream YouTube videos?
3. Mon-Zune season
Speaking of ill-fated gadgetry introductions, Microsoft's
It's no iPod killer. Sadly, it's not even an iPod tickler. It may pack some slick features, including a multi-touch OLED screen, an HD radio tuner, and the ability to play HD movies on a high-def television (via a $90 dock accessory). But it's lacking the iTunes ecosystem, the 65,000-plus App Store marketplace, and the video camera that's now built into Apple's
There is naturally room for more than one maker of portable media players, but if Microsoft wants to steal a chunk of Apple's market share, it'll either have to dramatically undercut the iPod on price, or truly revolutionize the medium. It's falling short on both counts.
4. Flash flood
Can you buy your way out of a crummy quarter? Adobe Systems
Adobe has a lot of sexy products and popular Web technologies, but it's just not cutting it in this recession. Omniture is a good buyout, but Adobe's lack of organic growth should concern investors.
5. Do the math
Goldman Sachs upgraded shares of Aetna
Goldman's Matthew Borsch is increasing his price target on Aetna from $23 to $28. Why is this a problem? Well, the stock was trading around $30 when the upgrade took place. In other words, his price target suggests the stock will trade lower in the near-term -- which doesn't exactly match his that "neutral" rating. Upgrading stocks, while issuing price targets lower than the stock's current standing, is a pretty dumb thing to do.
Let's beat the dumb drum:
Apple and Omniture are Motley Fool Stock Advisor selections. Microsoft is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. Trying any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days is a clever move indeed.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a fan of dumb and smart business moves. Investors can learn plenty from both. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool's disclosure policy has a genius-level IQ.