They were assumed to be dying and soon to be dead. Digitalization of media and ecommerce were supposed to be their death knell. Both of these companies are highly dependent on discretionary consumer spending. Disney relies on vacation travel both domestic and international. Macy's was neither luxury nor discount, being left with a diminishing consumer base in the middle.
Not so fast.
Macy's and Disney proved how solid management, brand recognition and sticking to your knitting can pay off. Both of these companies were assumed to be a dying breed. I even made Macy's one of my worst run companies a few years ago. They are great comeback stories and I can kick myself for missing them.However, though there was plenty of other comeback stories I was able to latch onto such as McDonald's (MCD), Ruby Tuesday (RT), Ford (F) and Apple (AAPL), all of which I still have positions in. Remember AAPL a few years ago? The troika of Dell (DELL), Hewlett Packard (HPQ) and Microsoft (MSFT) were digging the grave for AAPL. Who is laughing now? In the past few weeks both Hewlett-Packard (for Palm (PALM)) and Dell (for 3Par (MSFT) announced acquisitions which the market was rather lukewarm on. Hewlett-Packard just lost its well respected CEO, Mark Hurd, who resigned as a result of a sexual harassment scandal. This of course begs the question: What other companies are being left for dead? Which are so mismanaged that you won't touch them with counterfeit money? It will take some hard work, introspection and new management to resurrect these companies. However, it is not an insurmountable task. Here are a few possibilities: Yahoo! (YHOO - Get Report): Jerry Wang managed this company into the ground. Carol Bartz is just jumping into the grave and covering the company with dirt. I am tired of her use of superlative adjectives when describing the company's "achievements" during company earnings conference call. She has delivered nothing, as far as I am concerned, during her tenure. Yet, Yahoo has great brand recognition and content. It has potential but not with the current team in place. Until they clean house, Yahoo is just a stock to short on rallies. Johnson & Johnson (JNJ - Get Report): This stock has gone nowhere in the last eight to 10 years. Thankfully the dividend payout has risen nicely over that period of time and now stands at about 3.6%. Coated stents were supposed to launch Johnson & Johnson to new heights. That turned out to be a false messiah.