This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

10 Dumbest Things on Wall Street in 2009 (Part 1)

Stocks in this article: AIG

7. Pork Paralysis

( 5/1/09)

Did they have to call it "swine flu?" Why not la influenza Mexicana or the Mexican jumping bug?

These are undoubtedly the questions America's pork producers are asking themselves as fears surrounding the so-called swine flu pandemic are causing consumers to shun the other white meat and slam their stocks. Despite the fact that the disease is not spread via the consumption of pig products, shares of Smithfield Foods (SFD) and Tyson Foods (TSN) fell 12.4% and 8.9% respectively Monday.

The World Health Organization reported that confirmed swine flu cases rose to 257 worldwide Thursday. The organization also announced it will stop using the term "swine flu" to avoid confusion over the danger posed by pigs. The illness will now be called by its scientific name H1N1 influenza A.

The proposed name change, however, is too little too late for commodity investors already slammed by scores of traders bringing their little piggies to market. June hog futures closed down 2.7 cents, or 3.4%, at 66.3 cents per pound on Tuesday after closing down the 3 cents a pound daily limit on Monday.

"This is not a food-related issue, it's a person-to-person issue," said Smithfield CEO Larry Pope, complaining about the misnomer. Smithfield, the largest U.S. hog and pork producer, said the flu was not present in hogs or employees at any of its worldwide operations, including its joint venture in Mexico.

Unfortunately for Pope and America's other pig purveyors, the world continues to view pork as, well, not kosher. No matter how illogical, countries including China and Russia are banning U.S. pork imports from states such as Texas, Kansas, and California, where cases were reported.

Once the swine flu joins the forgotten ranks of mad-cow disease and bird flu, global consumers will regain their taste for bacon, ham, ribs and pork chops.

Until that day, the old Wall Street saying will never prove more spot on: Bulls make money and bears make money. But pigs get slaughtered.

Five Dumbest Final Thoughts -- Pork prices eventually recovered without government help. That's surprising since Congress is so good at giving out pork.

4 of 5

Select the service that is right for you!

Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!


DOW 18,053.71 +23.50 0.13%
S&P 500 2,088.77 +6.89 0.33%
NASDAQ 4,806.8590 +33.3870 0.70%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs