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Sucker Stocks: Avoid These Dogs At All Costs

Stocks in this article: SIRIJCPFTRLMCANFLXBBYRSHAAPL

Now, fellow long-time NFLX bear Tony Wible at Janney Montgomery seems to, at least in some respects, share my sentiment. In a note from Monday, Wible set his price target on the stock at $67 and upgrades it from "sell" to "neutral."

This turn of events does not make NFLX a buy; in fact, it might even be more of a sucker stock today than it was when it was imploding.

Even with the major headwinds out of the way, Netflix's business model does not turn into a sustainable one. As I argued in the above-cited article, it needs plenty of things to fall in line for that to happen. While it's possible, I certainly do not expect Netflix to do a remarkable job with what appears to be its new strategy: original programming; specialty programming, such as documentaries and Kids TV; and a more selective approach to buying other content.

Reed Hastings had no choice but to slow spending to stop the bleeding. While I agree with the move and view it as a positive, there's little, if any, upside right now. It's sucker stock because investors will see it "bottom" in the $60s and shout catch phrases such as "it's consolidating" on message boards. Don't believe the hype. Proceed with caution.

To that end, just because a stock appears to have bottomed does not save it from becoming a sucker stock. Companies with no reasonable way forward or, more importantly, without a leader who can competently and confidently articulate the way forward often have plenty more room to fall.


Best Buy (BBY). Radio Shack (RSH). J.C. Penney (JCP). All three stocks stay somewhat afloat in the same boat.

What needs to happen is quite clear, at least at Best Buy. It needs to hire a young and innovative CEO -- I put my confidence and vote behind one of the company's new executive hires, Stephen Gillett -- who can look into the heart of a hurricane, tear the company apart and put it back together again.

Best Buy, Radio Shack and J.C. Penney will all cease to exist in five years or less without the type of change most of us cannot even imagine.


Behind closed doors, I can't think that Ron Johnson is anything but embarrassed about what he has done at J.C. Penney. He introduced a new pricing strategy. Whether it stunk up the joint or not is beside the point. There's a much larger and more significant issue that just about all of the media and most investors have ignored. It's easy to sum up: Is that all he's got?.

Not using the word "sale" and floating a couple gay- and lesbian-friendly ads hardly comprises a turnaround worthy of a former Apple (AAPL) retail executive.

Do I have to say anything about Radio Shack? I didn't think so. Walk into one of its stores. Try to contain your laughter. At least wait until you're out of the view of one of the company's beaten-down sales executives. I could soak up more inspiration spending time on Death Row than in a Radio Shack store.

Don't fall for the sales pitches that try to get you to go long these five sucker stocks -- SIRI, NFLX, BBY, RSH, JCP -- and others. Nine times out of 10, the folks selling that sunshine are trying to salvage an underwater position they should have closed a long time ago.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage..

At the time of publication, the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned in this article.
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