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5 Dumbest Things on Wall Street This Week: March 22

2. Maxwell Not-So-Smart

Bang! Bang! Maxwell Technologies (MXWL) is once again dropping the hammer on shareholders.

The energy storage device maker announced the resignation of its public accounting firm McGladrey LLP in an SEC filing Tuesday. In its farewell letter to Maxwell's audit committee, McGladrey confirmed "it could no longer rely on management's representations," nor the "information obtained directly from certain third parties." Maxwell added it will be forced to delay the reporting of its 2012 financials while it looks for an accountant to replace McGladrey. Shares of the company sank 14% to $6.40 on the news.

No, all is not well at Maxwell, so much so that its accountant is throwing in the towel. Not that McGladrey had a clue as to what was going on at the company anyway. To tell the truth (which nobody did at the company), McGladrey was probably plenty glad to get out of there. Furthermore, we doubt they will be the last to go since they are following a host of other Maxwell employees, including the company's senior vice president of sales and marketing, out the door.

Of course, McGladrey or no McGladrey, nobody expected the company to release its 2012 numbers for a long, long time anyway. In case you forgot, the company said earlier this month that it needs to restate its 2010 and 2011 financial results due to revenue recognition errors, so even the thought of closing last year's books was ridiculous. Maxwell said at the time that it expects the restatement will decrease its fiscal 2011 top-line by $6.5 million and revenue during the first three quarters of 2012 by $5.5 million by comparison to its previously stated results.

Then again, nobody knows how the numbers will add up once the next auditor digs into Maxwell's accounting mess. The only thing we can count on is that Wall Street's pencil-pushers will probably be as clueless as ever about the stock.

Back in early February, analysts at both Piper Jaffray and Stephens upgraded Maxwell to "overweight" from "neutral" based on the company's improving China outlook and supposedly improved fundamentals. The shares popped to nearly $11 on the upgrades, a year-to-date high for the stock and nearly double its recent price.

Clang! Clang!

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