Stupidity is contagious. It gets us all from time to time. Even respectable companies can catch it. As I do every week, let's take a look at five dumb financial events this week that may make your head spin.
1. eBay: three months or three years
Naturally, I don't have a beef with companies peeling back the curtain to give shareholders a long-term view of things. Shortly after Sirius XM Radio
However, eBay tops this week's list because it provided a three-year outlook, just two months after it broke from its annual rite of providing guidance for the year ahead.
"The uncertain and unprecedented economic environment, coupled with the volatile currency movement, make it difficult to provide any meaningful outlook beyond the first quarter," the company said during its fourth-quarter conference call.
Really? So eBay could only look out three months two years ago, but now it can stand on a summit and look all the way out to 2011? That's unreal!
2. You can't be Sirius?
Remember that five-year projection at Sirius XM? It's toast, too. Two days after positing its first quarter of positive pro forma adjusted income, the company decided to withdraw its subscriber and revenue guidance. It is only sticking to its original call of generating $300 million in EBITDA for all of 2009.
So it's like eBay and Sirius are passing ships, yet they both wind up laying anchor at Port Dumbville. The problem with Sirius XM is that we're already through more than 75% of the current quarter. How can it not know?
Then again, maybe it's right in not trusting its own judgment. In September, it thought it would close out 2008 with 19.5 million subscribers. In November, it scaled its target down to 19.1 million accounts. It was still too high. Sirius XM wound up adding less than half of the subscribers during the quarter that it thought it would in early November. (But check out how Sirius also made this week's "Smartest" list.)
3. Now that's just Goofy
That's not dumb. That's genius. It's about time that the family entertainment giant reach out to the masses with an interactive hub of --
What's that? Disney is charging $75 a year for what is essentially a slick quarterly magazine, a trinket, and a spot on a mailing list for Disney's marketing team? Oh dear.
D23 will still find an audience. Unfortunately, it will be a niche audience. Instead of throwing out a wider net and creating a free social network or coming through with a more recession-sensitive pricing strategy, D23 appears headed in the same direction as other Disney membership programs like Magic Kingdom Club, Disney Club, and the short-lived Virtual Magic Kingdom.
4. Take-Two and call me in the mourning
I've got a video game concept. I call it Grand Theft Auto V: Shareholder City. Investors buy a stake in Take-Two Interactive
The latest disappointing chapter in this game came on Wednesday, when shares fell deeper into the single digits after the company warned of a soft near-term outlook.
I know I was one of the saps who believed the company, when it held out for more. These days, even a buyout at half of EA's original offer price would be welcome.
5. Earl of pearls
Upscale jeweler Tiffany
The 16-store concept clearly never got very far. I guess that's why Tiffany is shucking Iridesse. Then again, after watching high-end jewelers like Tiffany and Blue Nile
Let's beat the dumb drum:
Walt Disney and eBay are Motley Fool Inside Value recommendations. Blue Nile and Take-Two Interactive Software are Motley Fool Rule Breakers picks. Walt Disney, eBay, and Electronic Arts are Motley Fool Stock Advisor selections. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days.
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, save for Disney. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.
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