Whew! Just got done grading myself and my sources, and I'm proud to say we hit the dean's list (or should that be editor's list?) again.
Oh, there were a few failures, and plenty of incompletes. In keeping with this column's tradition, let's get the bad news out of the way first.
never did buy
, as this column
speculated might happen. (So much for speculating on a takeover.) And remember
, the graphics-chip company? Wish I couldn't. An item
here in June asked, "Will Nvidia be a big loser in the
deal?" The answer, I can emphatically tell you, is no. (Wearing a dunce cap for that one.) And
suggesting trouble at
Whole Foods Market
? Wrong! (Straight to the principal's office.) Then there's
U.S. Franchise Systems
, but I raked it, and its biggest fan, over this
column's coals last month. And I deserve to be suspended for
, which assembles
machines, was headed down in the wake of a slowdown in biz at Coinstar. (So much for the "domino effect" approach to investing.)
Herb's Latest: Join the discussion on
TSC message boards.
Incompletes, which means regardless of the stock price, fundamentals haven't been borne out one way or the other: The obvious ones include
Diamond Technology Partners
Lernout & Hauspie
. (I debated giving short-seller Marc Cohodes of
an F for Lernout, but the stock has gone straight up despite a continuous stream of earnings estimate cuts by analysts, and besides, he's already gotten failing marks
earlier this year for
Other incompletes go to
Banc of America Securities
analyst Bill Steele for his
warnings on a subtle deterioration in fundamentals at
, and to the shorts who
raised similar concerns about
. Also an incomplete to short-sellers who were short
(it's down, but let's give it another season to see if the
critics' story is borne out) and to those masochistic enough to
and its brainy CEO, Robert F.X. Sillerman. Ditto to those whose questions about
led to a recent "Oh, what a tangled web we weave!"
item, and those who went public with their
, my guess, will be a perennial incomplete; it's so hard to bet against
, whose genius you can't help admire and respect despite his smug personality. (So what if his
system was a bust!) And let's not forget that wacky incomplete pair --
-- both still making me look foolish (no, not Motley Foolish).
The most controversial incomplete goes to Jeff Matthews of
, one of this column's regular sources, despite his compelling comments
biz model and why he believes it is failing. (His comments were directed at the business, not the stock. Says he wouldn't change a word today. Time will tell. Incomplete.) Equally incomplete and equally gutsy (for publicly bashing a giant) was Don Luskin of
short-sale recommendation of
As for A's, the list is long (if he doesn't say so himself): First, to the headmaster's list for my anonymous source who
tipped this column to the reasons he was long
when they were much lower. And high honors to Banc of America Securities analyst David Goldman for his excellent and
gutsy call on
A's also go to those who forwarded info on
TCI Satellite Entertainment
Transaction Systems Architects
, which hasn't transacted as well as expected. (Could be argued that Transaction Systems Architects is an incomplete, but its
recent news and lack of response to this column doesn't bode well.)
Matthews, mentioned earlier, gets high marks for his negative call
last year on
, which suffered a mini blowup in time for the last
semiannual report card but wasn't included; it then blew up again in October, worthy of an A-plus. Top honors also go to the short-sellers (you know who you are) who aided in this column's comments
last May that asked whether the bears would finally get it right about
-- they did -- and to John Woodberry of
Minute Man Capital Management
for his prescient call
, which nobody knew existed before he mentioned it here. (It has almost tripled since then; pretty much what he expected.)
Also an honors A to the money manager who
first alerted me to the underlying value of
(back when its stock was much lower), and, as always,
A to Connecticut money manger Scott Turkel, this time for his
table-pounding comments on
TSI International Software
, which has zoomed.
And on the A list: the shorts who alerted this column to
Just for Feet
, which filed for bankruptcy, and to those who alerted me to the
questionable fundamentals of
, which makes fake diamonds and has since changed its name to
Charles & Colvard
Finally, incompletes from the last report card that get a final grade: A to Cohodes' partner, David Rocker, for his
, the cemetery and mortuary company, whose stock has been on its own deathbed lately; to the shorts who
alerted me to
, which has filed for bankruptcy; to the shorts who had
Pre-Paid Legal Services
, which recently seemed confounded at the decline in its stock; to the several shorts who
alerted me to
, which has imploded (both the company and its stock); and to those who
raised issues with
Hibbett Sporting Goods
, which isn't far from its 52-week low.
I'm sure I've missed a few -- if so, pass them on and I'll deal with them when this column returns in early January.
Folks, one final note: Thanks to my many sources for providing information to this column. Thanks to my readers for taking the time to stop by every day. Thanks for all of the emails. Very sorry many of you have never received a response other than my automatic (and, I know, annoying) "boinnggg." (You can guess what my new millennium resolution will be!) And thanks to my assistant,
, for his sharp eye, fabulous research and for making my life easier and the quality of this column higher.
Have a very happy holiday and a marvelous millennium.
Herb Greenberg writes daily for TheStreet.com. In keeping with TSC's editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks, though he owns stock in TheStreet.com. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. He welcomes your feedback at
email@example.com. Greenberg also writes a monthly column for Fortune.
Mark Martinez assisted with the reporting of this column.