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Why Angie's List Shares Got Dumped

By Jeremy Bowman – Jan 2, 2014 at 4:34PM

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Is this meaningful? Or just another movement?

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Investors apparently resolved to sell Angie's List (ANGI) in the new year as shares of the user-generated reference site were down as much 12% today on insider selling and a series of lawsuits accusing the company of misinforming investors.

So what: Angie's List shares had spiked about 7.7% on Tuesday, the market's previous trading day, for no clear reason, so today's drop could be partly the usual pendulum swing after a big movement due to a combination of profit taking, and the market's belief that the stock was overbought. Director Keith Krach also sold 6,500 shares on December 31, 2013 for $15 apiece. At a total of $97,500, the sale does not represent a significant portion of the company -- barely more than .1% of its market cap -- but the timing of the decision seems odd as the stock has now fallen more than 50% from a high of $28 this summer. Finally, several class-action lawsuits have been announced against the company this week, most recently one today alleging that Angie's List may have used free memberships to artificially inflate subscription numbers, among other claims.

Now what: I don't see any of these events as particularly meaningful to an Angie's List investing thesis. While the subscription charges seem substantial, this is not the first time concerns about its subscription policy have arisen, and the market seems to generally ignore these bottom-feeding types of lawsuits. Still, I remain skeptical of the future of Angie's List for other reasons. While Pandora, Linkedin, Yelp and others in the social media family of stocks have almost all soared since their IPOs, Angie's List is essentially even with its 2012 IPO price of $13, even as the broad market has climbed more than 30% since then. Founded in 1994, the company is by no means young, and still has yet to turn a profit. And when you consider the competition it's facing from the likes of Yelp and Google, Angie's List doesn't even seem to be the best at what it does and, essentially, has no competitive advantages. Don't be surprised to see shares continuing to wander lost.

Fool contributor Jeremy Bowman has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Google, LinkedIn, Pandora Media, and Yelp. The Motley Fool owns shares of Google and LinkedIn. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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