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TheStreet Open House

The 5 Dumbest Things on Wall Street This Week: Nov. 1

1. Tough Times at Teva

Somebody better slip the folks over at Teva Pharmaceuticals (TEVA) a chill pill before things really get out of hand.

The world's largest generic drugmaker saw its stock get shellacked Wednesday after it revealed that its CEO Jeremy Levin was leaving and CFO Eyal Desheh was taking his spot on an interim basis. Teva shares were halted in Tel Aviv following the announcement and finished 8% lower in Nasdaq trading. Levin, who took Teva's top-spot in May 2012, denied an Israeli media report earlier in the week that Levin was clashing with the company's board of directors over Teva's strategy.

There you have it. Sometimes you should believe what you read in the papers.

And if you don't want to believe the media, then perhaps give Wall Street's scribes a perusal.

BMO Capital said it has less confidence in Teva following the CEO scuffle. BMO's analyst criticized the company's governance and said the last time Teva searched for a CEO its R&D and earnings suffered. Elsewhere, Piper Jaffray said the positive outlook from Teva on its CEO resignation call "does not square with the realities" of its underlying business.

Teva's CEO skirmish also couldn't have come at a worse time for the company. Teva announced it cutting 5,000 jobs earlier this month, or 10% of its workforce, as part of Levin's cost-cutting plan as it prepares for stiffer competition to its multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone. The board, the Israeli government and labor unions clashed with Levin over his handling of the layoffs, which some say led to his abrupt departure. On Thursday, Teva was back in the spotlight, reporting flat earnings that beat analysts' estimates by a cent.

"It just got to the point where the slight differences couldn't really be resolved. We thought it was better to part ways," said Teva board Chairman Dr. Phillip Frost on Wednesday's conference call.

We appreciate your honesty Dr. Frost. Chill pill, yes. Truth serum, no.

-- Written by Gregg Greenberg in New York

Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors and reporters from holding positions in any individual stocks.
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