2. ADT (ADT) -- How do you have a play on housing and security that's down 14% for the year? How can you have a company that's totally in denial about how poorly its business is really performing? Does the company have a handle at all on how to grow its business beyond its practice of overpaying for acquisitions? How could it disappoint for so many quarters? Does it even have a chief financial officer? Sure, I am mad at myself that my Action Alerts PLUS charitable trust got beat by this one, but ADT did appear to know what it was doing, and management put on a good show. Plus, this is a company that bought high in one of those ridiculous accelerated-stock-purchase plans that ill-informed managements are talked into by the brokers, followed by a slashed credit rating as the stock gets hammered. Watch ADT have to issue equity now. I think AT&T (T) is eating this company's lunch. Management should put the "for sale" sign up and move on.
3. Avon (AVP) -- I am so glad that Andrea Jung is still serving as a senior adviser to Avon's board. I guess that way she can continue to detract value even though she is no longer CEO. Here's a direct-selling company that seems to be incapable of turning itself around, even as I think that Sheri McCoy, late of Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), should be able to do something to save it. Maybe Bill Ackman has to get short Avon in order to get the darned thing moving? Seriously, why would anyone want to buy this company's stock as long as it's still paying Jung?
4. Blackberry (BBRY) -- How in heck can you possibly have the hottest product in the world, with 80 million subscribers, and not see that you had to open your architecture and come up with alternatives that might also be loved using your identical keyboard? This is a company that was up by nine games with 10 games to play, and has lost every single round to Apple (AAPL) and to Samsung. The company now says it's for sale. Terrific. They've been for sale for ages. They are very nice, though. 5. Broadcom (BRCM) -- Here's one of those companies that seem to have had it all -- the best chips, the best customers, the best 4G and 5G solutions. What happens? After reporting what had looked to be a smashing quarter, management guides well below the Street's estimates but really gives no reason for it. Here's my question: How could this company have so much business with Apple and Samsung, and yet have a stock that's unchanged for the last five years? How is that possible? What is Broadcom doing with the money? Burning it? Management could just say, "Hey, people are beating us to the punch, using other guys. We screwed up. We are sorry." Why not just come out and say that? Instead they just talk about how great they are. I think greatness is in your record, and these guys are third-division players.
That's it for the first half of my list. Stay tuned later on today for the remaining five disappointers.
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