Saturday, March 24, 2012

Stockpickers and fortune tellers

By Donald Sensing

I think it was Warren Buffett who said that stockpickers were the only people who make fortune tellers look respectable. As Exhibit A I give you one Chuck Jaffe of MarketWatch, a WSJ site that usually is worth reading. But not back on March 9: "Don’t ‘rush’ to Carbonite shares."

BOSTON (MarketWatch) — When Carbonite Inc. stock took a quick plunge this week, there was an obvious consensus about what caused the move: The company pulled advertising from Rush Limbaugh’s talk-radio program after the controversial host made inflammatory remarks about a Georgetown University law student. ...

Whatever you may believe is the cause, Carbonite is the Stupid Investment of the Week.
So, let's see how the stock price of the Stupid Investment of the Week has done since March 9. Using Google Finance, I see that on March 1, the day that Limbaugh made his inflammatory comments about Sandra Fluke, CARB closed at 9.59. When the company's CEO very publicly yanked its sponsorship from Limbaugh's program on March 3, the stock price opened the next trading day at 9.30 but closed sharply down at 9.15.

Then it was downhill rapidly. March 6: 8.35 close. From the seventh through the twelfth, the stock went through a series of temporary price hikes at open followed by steep decline the rest of the day. On March 9, the day Jaffe's piece appeared, CARB opened at 8.85 and closed 8.70. On March 13 the stock bottomed at 8.02, closing at 8.065. Since then it has not looked back. CARB closed yesterday at 10.24.

So if someone had bought a mere $1,000 of CARB (not including commissions) at midday on the same day Jaffe pronounced the stock as the Stupid Investment of the Week, that person would have already made 20 percent upside.

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