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: Shares of NQ Mobile (NYSE:NQ) jumped 20% Wednesday after the Chinese Internet services specialist announced an expanded partnership with A Wireless. Specifically, A Wireless will now make available a comprehensive, bundled security solution from NQ Mobile to subscribers at its more than 200 stores across the U.S.
So what: According to NQ's press release, the deal "marks the first availability of its Mobile Assurance product for iPhone, while Android users [can now] benefit from the market-leading NQ Mobile Security app."
Perhaps most notably, the news comes as NQ Mobile continues to battle ongoing allegations of fraud, and arrives only a few days after the company questionably replaced its auditor amid a request to expand the scope of its 2013 audit. Now, however, the market appears to be taking A Wireless' seal of approval as a vote of confidence in the viability of NQ Mobile's business.
Now what: With this in mind, however -- and contrary to what some bullish investor have already seemed to imply -- note this isn't a direct partnership between NQ Mobile and Verizon Wireless. Rather, A Wireless is one of the country's largest authorized retailers given the distinction of being a "Verizon Wireless Premium Retailer." Also, remember that A Wireless has long been a point-of-purchase distribution partner for NQ's software products. To borrow NQ's words, "The deal broadens the relationship between NQ Mobile and A Wireless."
In the end, I'll admit NQ Mobile looks tantalizingly cheap trading at around four times next year's estimated earnings. But, while it might be tempting to ride the stock up on any positive catalysts, I've already asserted the risk of a total loss is simply too great for me to ignore. As it stands, expanded partnerships or not, I think prudent investors would be wise to continue to stay far away from NQ Mobile.