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Beware the Phony Santas of the Stock Market

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Maybe it's Christmas. Maybe it's the approach of the New Year, and the fear deep inside every money manager's gut that they're about to be evaluated for this year's calls and found wanting.

But every December, it seems we get stock touts going on the TV and pushing losers, calling them winners, and dragging gullible investors into going along, until the bottom drops out like a New Year's hangover.

This year's sucker bets are Facebook (FB) and Research in Motion (RIMM). Since November 13 Facebook is up by about a third, to $24 per share. RIMM -- the Blackberry people -- hit a bottom near $6.50/share back in late September and it has since risen to over $11, a gain of nearly 75%.

I call these sucker bets because a lot of people have lost money in FB and RIMM during the year, and because it's mostly hope that has these stocks rising. In the case of Facebook, that hope is a mobile strategy heavy on ads. In the case of RIMM it's Blackberry 10, a new mobile platform based, like Google's Android, on Unix.

Facebook's rally is especially suspicious, since it started with the expiration of lock-ups on shares held by insiders, as CNN reported at the time. Many expected the stock to collapse on that date, but instead it has been rising steadily, and even the bearish BTIG Research analyst, Rich Greenfield, is now expecting big things, reports Business Insider.

How big? He expects revenue for the quarter of $1.55 billion, up from $1.26 billion last quarter, with total revenue for the year of $6 billion and EBITDA of $858 million for just the last three months.

Greenfield's turnaround gave an extra kick to the stock's rally, but Greenfield himself has only given the stock a "neutral" rating, because he doesn't expect the good news to continue. He says the mobile app is ad-heavy, not a very good experience, and suggests that Facebook is about to get unfriended by many people who use it.

I agree. Don't buy the hype that Facebook has "billions" of users because I'm one of them and I hardly go there anymore. I post stories to it through Tweetdeck, looking for readers, and there are a few family members I keep up with. But I don't "hang out" there.

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