The 5 Dumbest Things on Wall Street This Week: March 9
5. Overstock Gets Ugly
Remember the Clint Eastwood western The Good, the Bad and the Ugly ? Well, we here at the Dumbest Lab have a great idea for a sequel entitled: The Dumb, the Ugly and the Overstock .
Shares of Overstock.com(OSTK) were overwhelmed by sellers last Friday, sinking over 10% after the online retailer reported an "ugly" $3.4 million fourth-quarter loss and a 10% drop in revenue as a result of confusion over its new Web site.
And when we say it was an "ugly" quarter, we aren't the only ones. In fact, that's not even our adjective. We borrowed it from Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne, who started the post-earnings conference call by admitting "it was an ugly end to an ugly year."
Hey that's pretty good, Patrick, we couldn't have said it better ourselves, and that's what we do for a living.
Moreover, Byrne was even nice enough to blame himself for the company's rotten results, thereby saving us the trouble. Byrne owned up to the decision to rebrand his Web site "O.co" last year, a maneuver which caused all kinds of consternation among its customers who mistakenly kept clicking "O.com".
"O.co was my bad call," said Byrne, about his miserable marketing campaign, who then spoke incoherently about another major marketing mistake he made last year.
This time, however, Byrne refused to divulge his "bad decision," saying: "We tried killing it and it turns out that it was better not to have killed it and just have let it keep going and not have an ROI, a good ROI than to kill it all together."
Huh? We understand the ugly earnings apology, but what on earth are you rambling about, Patrick?
Clearly, that's the "Dumb" part of the movie.
4. Dick's Departure
So long Dick Parsons. Now that you are stepping down as chairman of Citigroup(C) , you will be missed.
Of course, Parsons won't be missed by Citigroup in the least after he helped reduce that once proud bank to rubble. No, his departure will be most mourned right here at the Dumbest Lab, because while he may have destroyed a ton of wealth for Citi shareholders, he's provided a treasure trove of material for us.
"Given the strong position that Citi is in today, I have concluded that the time has come for me to take my leave," said Parsons, who will be succeeded by Bank of Hawaii (BOH) CEO Michael O'Neill, in a statement last Friday. Vikram Pandit, who became CEO when toe-tapping Chuck Prince was forced out in 2007, will remain in that job.
Strong position, huh? Really, Dick? Relative to what? Citigroup stock has lost approximately 75% of its value since you joined the board 16 years ago. Albeit that's better than the 84% decline that Time Warner has seen in its stock price since you helped preside over that company's disastrous merger with AOL back in January 2000, but still.