WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. (TheStreet) -- Barron's did a fair job on its Gap (GPS) - Get Report is-steaming-back article until the very end. At that point, it derailed in typical Barron's fashion.

The headline of the article asked: "Can The Gap Come Back?" which was answered bumptiously in the subheadline: "After a lost decade of fashion missteps, the venerable retailer is setting the stage for an impressive rebound. Look out, H&M and Zara."

You can quibble with that conclusion (I do), but

Barron's

, by and large, does a fair job through the bulk of the article weighing positives and negatives while letting you know that it sides with the positives. Fair enough: Great minds can disagree. In fact, disagreement makes the stock market go 'round.

But at the endof the article,

Barron's

indulged in what amounts to its classic verbal tic: It brought up the prospect of a takeover. That is fine, if there is even scant evidence that the company is a takeover candidate.

But when it comes to Gap, there is not. How do we know? Well,

Barron's

tells us: "There is no indication that Gap is planning to sell." Or,

Barron's

should add, that anyone would ever want to buy the retailing albatross. That doesn't stop

Barron's

, though, (it never does) from forging on, even tossing out a possible takeover price in the high $20s, pure delusion.

Look, there is a lot of bad prospective merger coverage, which makes too much of talks in the preliminary stage. This is even worse. By

Barron's

own admission, there aren't even preliminary talks under way. Writing about a baseless merger to titillate readers is irresponsible -- and misleads traders.

At the time of publication, Fuchs had no positions in any of the stocks mentioned in this column.

Marek Fuchs was a stockbroker for Shearson Lehman Brothers and a money manager before becoming a journalist who wrote The New York Times' "County Lines" column for six years. He also did back-up beat coverage of The New York Knicks for the paper's Sports section for two seasons and covered other professional and collegiate sports. He has contributed frequently to many of the Times' other sections, including National, Metro, Escapes, Style, Real Estate, Arts & Leisure, Travel, Money & Business, Circuits and the Op-Ed Page.

For his "Business Press Maven" column on how business and finance are covered by the media, Fuchs was named best business journalist critic in the nation by the Talking Biz website at The University of North Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Fuchs is a frequent speaker on the business media, in venues ranging from National Public Radio to the annual conference of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.

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