*Accountability* Herb's Semiannual Report Card

Lots of A's, a few F's, and plenty of incompletes.
Author:
Publish date:

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.

Failures:

Blockbuster

(BBI) - Get Report

never did buy

Hollywood Entertainment

(HLYW)

, as this column

speculated might happen. (So much for speculating on a takeover.) And remember

Nvidia

(NVDA) - Get Report

, the graphics-chip company? Wish I couldn't. An item

here in June asked, "Will Nvidia be a big loser in the

Diamond-S3

deal?" The answer, I can emphatically tell you, is no. (Wearing a dunce cap for that one.) And

suggesting trouble at

Whole Foods Market

(WFMI)

? Wrong! (Straight to the principal's office.) Then there's

U.S. Franchise Systems

(USFS)

, but I raked it, and its biggest fan, over this

column's coals last month. And I deserve to be suspended for

questioning whether

Plexus

(PLXS) - Get Report

, which assembles

Coinstar's

(CSTR) - Get Report

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

Ancor Communications

(ANCR)

,

Cree Research

(CREE) - Get Report

,

Scient

(SCNT)

,

Diamond Technology Partners

(DTPI)

and

Lernout & Hauspie

(LHSP)

. (I debated giving short-seller Marc Cohodes of

Rocker Partners

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

Microchip Technology

(MCHP) - Get Report

.)

Other incompletes go to

Banc of America Securities

analyst Bill Steele for his

warnings on a subtle deterioration in fundamentals at

Colgate-Palmolive

(CL) - Get Report

, and to the shorts who

raised similar concerns about

Estee Lauder

(EL) - Get Report

. Also an incomplete to short-sellers who were short

Premier Parks

(PKS)

(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

question

SFX Entertainment

(SFX)

and its brainy CEO, Robert F.X. Sillerman. Ditto to those whose questions about

MTI Technology

(MTIC)

led to a recent "Oh, what a tangled web we weave!"

item, and those who went public with their

concerns for

MedImmune

(MEDI)

.

Pixar

(PIXR)

, my guess, will be a perennial incomplete; it's so hard to bet against

Steve Jobs

, whose genius you can't help admire and respect despite his smug personality. (So what if his

NeXT

system was a bust!) And let's not forget that wacky incomplete pair --

IDT

(IDTC)

and

Net2Phone

(NTOP)

-- both still making me look foolish (no, not Motley Foolish).

The most controversial incomplete goes to Jeff Matthews of

Ram Partners

, one of this column's regular sources, despite his compelling comments

here regarding

Amazon.com's

(AMZN) - Get Report

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

metamarkets.com

for his

short-sale recommendation of

AT&T

(T) - Get Report

.

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

Apple

(AAPL) - Get Report

and

Qualcomm

(QCOM) - Get Report

when they were much lower. And high honors to Banc of America Securities analyst David Goldman for his excellent and

gutsy call on

Coca-Cola Enterprises

(CCE)

.

A's also go to those who forwarded info on

Action Performance

(ACTN)

(which has

crashed),

TCI Satellite Entertainment

(TSATA)

(which has

soared) and

Transaction Systems Architects

(TSAI)

, 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

Federal-Mogul

(FMO) - Get Report

, 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

Conseco

(CNC) - Get Report

-- they did -- and to John Woodberry of

Minute Man Capital Management

for his prescient call

here on

Satyam Infoway

(SIFY) - Get Report

, 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

Seagate Technology

(SEG)

(back when its stock was much lower), and, as always,

another

A to Connecticut money manger Scott Turkel, this time for his

table-pounding comments on

TSI International Software

(TSFW)

, which has zoomed.

And on the A list: the shorts who alerted this column to

troubles at

Just for Feet

(FEETQ)

, which filed for bankruptcy, and to those who alerted me to the

questionable fundamentals of

C3

, which makes fake diamonds and has since changed its name to

Charles & Colvard

(CTHR) - Get Report

.

Finally, incompletes from the last report card that get a final grade: A to Cohodes' partner, David Rocker, for his

warnings on

Stewart Enterprises

(STEI)

, the cemetery and mortuary company, whose stock has been on its own deathbed lately; to the shorts who

alerted me to

Sabratek

(SBTK)

, which has filed for bankruptcy; to the shorts who had

mentioned

Pre-Paid Legal Services

(PPD)

, which recently seemed confounded at the decline in its stock; to the several shorts who

alerted me to

CHS Electronics

(HS)

, which has imploded (both the company and its stock); and to those who

raised issues with

Hibbett Sporting Goods

(HIBB) - Get Report

, 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,

Mark Martinez

, 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

herb@thestreet.com. Greenberg also writes a monthly column for Fortune.

Mark Martinez assisted with the reporting of this column.