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The 5 Dumbest Things on Wall Street This Week: Oct. 5

Stocks in this article: ABT WTSLA AXP HPQ KRFT DFS YHOO NDAQ

5. Abbott's College Craziness

In response to last Thursday's news that Abbott Labs (ABT) misstated the academic credentials of one of its most senior executives, we here at the 5 Dumbest Lab decided to call the drug maker to get the facts straight.

5 Dumbest: Hey Abbott. What's the name of the college where Richard Gonzalez got his degree?

Abbott: Sure. That's easy. What is on second.

5 Dumbest: Wait, you know who we are talking about, right? Richard Gonzalez, the guy you picked last October to head your $18 billion AbbVie drug business once you spin it off. That's who.

Abbott: Sorry. We misunderstood. We thought you said what, not who. Who is on first.

5 Dumbest: Who is?

Abbott: Exactly.

5 Dumbest: Hold on a minute! Is this some kind of a joke or something? Gonzalez gets busted for lying on his corporate biography about holding a bachelor's degree from the University of Houston and a master's from the University of Miami, both in biochemistry, and this is your response? Why are you acting dumb?

Abbott: Why? We thought you said Who. If you want to know Why, well, he plays left field.

5 Dumbest: Will you cut it out with that crap already? We're not Lou Costello and you are Abbott Labs, not Bud Abbott. This is serious stuff and you can't just write it off as "an administrative error." Maybe you don't remember what happened to Yahoo (YHOO) CEO Scott Thompson last May. Or, maybe you simply don't know.

Abbott: Don't know. Of course. That's easy...

5 Dumbest: STOP! We know how this goes. Don't you say third base!

Abbott: Fine. We won't then.

5 Dumbest: Look, if that's your attitude then we'll tell you what happened to Scott Thompson. He got canned by an activist investor for lying about his education. But hey, your stock is up 35% in the past year while Yahoo's was dead money. So if all you care about is the stock price and not the truthfulness of your executives then we don't give a darn.

Abbott: What?

5 Dumbest: Cut it out already, would you? We know that's how the vaudeville bit ends. We say we 'don't give a darn' and you say 'That's our shortstop.' Well, you can save it, because it's simply not funny. Be honest. Isn't that what you were going to say?

Abbott: Not at all. We just don't give a darn.

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