What Were They Thinking?

 | Feb 15, 2012 | 11:31 AM EST
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Miffed. That's how I feel about a bunch of stories today. I feel miffed.

Take Zynga (ZNGA). Here's the first quarter out of the chute, the first quarter, and we have what could be considered a dramatic slowdown in online gaming. The stock's run, so you can say, "Wait a second, so what?" But when you first come public, you should be headed to a higher trajectory, à la Michael Kors (KORS), not a lower trajectory.

How about Weight Watchers (WTW)? CEO David Kirchhoff could not have been more vocal when he came on television talking about a bright outlook and how well things are progressing. He bragged about the Charles Barkley campaign. There's no bragging now as revenue and earnings were guided down severely. The company announced a Dutch tender for some stock, which is going to make the earnings look better than they are because of the fewer shares that will be left as the divisor to earnings, but it's a great chance to sell. It must be taken.

Or how about Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF)? It cut its outlook thirteen days ago, sending the stock tumbling to $40. Today, TODAY, it says things are better than expected and margins are improving. The stock's moved back to $50. What do you have to say, Abercrombie, to the people you shook out of your own stock with that lowering of the bar? That's not cricket at all.

And I still want to get to the bottom of Amazon's (AMZN) Amazon Prime fracas. If the Street is under the impression that there are 10 million Amazon Prime members and the number is actually less than half that, as a Bloomberg News story averred Tuesday, doesn't the company feel the need to clarify and straighten this issue out given that the company has often expressed the importance of Amazon Prime to its future?

Finally, there's Deere (DE). Heaven forbid that, for once, Deere reports a terrific quarter and doesn't screw it up on the call or the release with some downbeat forecast that has tended not to come true. I am not saying I want companies to be upbeat when they report, but I am miffed that once again it shot itself in the foot by taking down its own crop estimates. I don't want Deere's estimates on crops, which is what sent the stock down when it could have and should have been up. I want to judge Deere on earnings, not its worries. The company seems oblivious to its own shareholders.

We want all investors to get a fair shake. In each instance, they deserve better -- although only Deere might be in a position to do so.

The rest? The rest? If you own them, I would sell them. There are so many good stocks out there, you don't need to own shares in these companies right now.


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