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. I think Icahn
Carl Icahn's partial victory is a loss for Biogen Idec (NASDAQ:BIIB). The billionaire cage-rattler has been in a proxy fight with the drug company for nearly two years. On Thursday, Biogen Idec announced preliminary results of a proposed board shake-up. At least one -- and perhaps two -- members of Icahn's proposed slate have won a seat on the company's board.

There are a few problems here.

  • There are a whopping 13 seats on the board, so Icahn's cronies are unlikely to have much of a say in the company.
  • Things got nasty on Wednesday, with Biogen Idec trying to keep its shareholder vote going for as long as possible, and Icahn publicly accusing the company of "hijacking" the election.
  • The lack of harmony is going to make the boardroom testy, now that Icahn has a presence inside.

2. Nothing but net, book
Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is tired of the term "netbook" to describe the wave of economically priced, pint-sized computing gadgets that took the market by storm last year. Instead of calling them netbooks, Microsoft is suggesting a new moniker: low-cost small notebook PCs.

You can tell that Redmond, Wash., is three time zones away from Madison Avenue. The buzzword is a buzz kill. It's also a mouthful and a travesty to the overuse of syllables.

There is nothing wrong with the term netbook, even if consumers are using them for far more than just surfing the Web. Besides, even though Windows XP is the operating system of choice these days on netbooks, it remains to be seen what will happen to the niche once the Android-powered portable computers hit the market. In short, Microsoft doesn't really have the right to name what it didn't create and can't control.

3. How now Dow cow?
With the bankruptcy of General Motors, the Dow Jones Industrial Average went into makeover mode. It replaced two of its fading components, adding Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) and Travelers Group (NYSE:TRV) in the 30-stock index.

I get Cisco. The networking giant is a bellwether. For a brief spell several years ago, Cisco actually commanded the market's highest market cap. Travelers, on the other hand, was a huge stretch. It's a real dark horse.

There is nothing wrong with a little insurance coverage in the gauge, but I can think of at least five companies that are far larger and more relevant than Travelers.

4. Wal-Mart scales Montana
Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) is betting big on Hannah Montana star Miley Cyrus. The world's largest retailer is launching a Cyrus clothing line in August and sponsoring her North American concert tour that begins a month later.

I would normally applaud any effort by Wal-Mart to embrace the "cheap chic" market, but Cyrus? This deal would have been huge a year or two ago when she was clearly ascending, but Disney's (NYSE:DIS) Disney Channel stars rarely have much of a shelf life. She's doing fine now, but you don't want to bank so much on a single star who entertains fickle youth heading into the back-to-school season.

5. More blue than jet
Shares of JetBlue (NASDAQ:JBLU) took a 15% hit on Wednesday, after the value-priced air carrier increased the size of its equity and debt offerings. It priced 23 million shares at $4.25, ahead of the 20 million shares it had originally earmarked for the secondary offering.

Dilution is never fun, especially with the stock closing at $5.03 on Tuesday night. It's also hard to get the market to rally around a secondary offering at a price that is less than a fourth of what the stock was trading at six years ago.

Next time you're planning a stock offering, JetBlue, check the altitude.

Let's beat the dumb drum:

Biogen Idec and Disney are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations. Disney, Microsoft, and Wal-Mart are Inside Value picks. 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.