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The Five Dumbest Things on Wall Street This Week: Jan. 18

4. Given's Gut Check

One would have thought Given Imaging (GIVN) would have looked deeply inward before lifting and then dashing investor hopes about a sale.

Seriously, it's an endoscopy-technology provider! If they don't do it, who will?

The Israel-based camera-in-a-pill maker announced Tuesday it will not merge or sell itself and will focus on its existing operating plan. Given Imaging added that Discount Investment Corp., which owns 45.5% of the company, planned to unload of its controlling stake in Given in one big, fat block.

"After a thorough exploration, the executive committee of the board of directors ... concluded that the continued execution of the company's operating plan, supplemented by additional acquisitions and alliances, provides the best opportunity at this time to enhance value for all of the company's shareholders," the firm said in a statement.

Shares of Given gave back over 11% on the news, or roughly the entire amount of its run-up following its mid-October announcement that it was exploring a sale "in order to maximize growth and enhance shareholder value."

Let's get this straight: The company whets shareholders' appetites with mouth-watering talk about a juicy deal, invites everybody to the party and then turns around barely three months later and says it's serving up the same old stuff.

Forget about an endoscopy. Sounds more like Given gave its shareholders a colonoscopy instead.

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