Summer is drawing to a close, and that means it's time to sharpen those No. 2 pencils and take a whack at the Five Dumbest Things Labor Day quiz.
Answer the following 10 questions on Wall Street's dumb and dumber goings-on this summer, and you'll get a chance at an autographed copy of Jim Cramer's
RealMoney: Sane Investing in an Insane World
Email your answers to
by midnight Eastern time Monday to enter. Be sure to write "Labor Day Quiz" in the subject line. We'll rerun the column Tuesday, with the answers and the name of the winner. Good luck!
1. A Texas jury held
liable last month in the death of a man who took its Vioxx painkiller. How did plaintiff lawyer Mark Lanier prod the jury along toward a $253 million judgment?
He likened Merck to a cash machine for executives.
He compared atherosclerosis to a tarp holding garbage onto a pickup truck.
He suggested that Oprah Winfrey would take note of a finding against Merck.
All of the above.
2. A Delaware judge ruled in August that
board wasn't negligent in its 1996 decision to award former President Michael Ovitz $140 million in severance pay. What
Judge William Chandler say about longtime CEO Michael Eisner and the board?
Their conduct "fell significantly short of the best practices of ideal corporate governance."
Directors were "friends and other acquaintances who, though not necessarily beholden to Eisner, were certainly more willing to accede to his wishes."
Eisner "enthroned himself as the omnipotent and infallible monarch of his personal Magic Kingdom."
The board "remains committed to monitoring evolving best practices and adopting new provisions, as appropriate, to serve the long-term interests of the company's shareholders."
3. Match the
executive with the appropriate recent comment.
Operating Chief Robert Willumstad.
Global Consumer Group CEO Marjorie Magner.
Chairman Sandy Weill.
CEO Charles Prince.
"I have reached a turning point in my life and my career."
"I am proud of the caliber of our next generation of leaders and their dedication to our future."
"I have had a great run at Citigroup over nearly two decades."
"I would never do anything that would hurt the company."
surprised Wall Street last month by saying it now wants to emphasize financial measures other than per-share earnings. What number is the San Jose, Calif., networking giant pointing analysts toward now?
Sequential revenue growth.
Customer order trends.
The number of shares CEO John Chambers sells each quarter.
The amount of money Cisco spends buying back stock.
5. Former Cisco exec Bill Nuti set plans last month to leave struggling bar-code company
after three years there. He'll be replaced by Sal Iannuzzi. What jobs has Iannuzzi held at Symbol in the last year?
Senior vice president, chief administrative and control officer.
Chief financial officer.
Interim president and CEO.
All of the above.
6. Match the convicted former executive with the sentencing judge's comment.
Ex- Cendant (CD) vice chairman Kirk Shelton.
Former WorldCom chief Bernie Ebbers.
Onetime WorldCom chief financial officer Scott Sullivan.
Ex- Adelphia CEO John Rigas.
He was "the architect of the fraud."
"If it was not for your age and health I would impose a far greater sentence."
"Your wrongful conduct in my view is not representative of your otherwise exemplary life."
"This is not a minor fraud."
chief Juergen Schrempp shocked Wall Street in July by saying he'd step down after 10 years at the helm of the big car company. How did Schrempp characterize the move?
"A breath of fresh air."
"There are sighs of relief ... that this problem is off the table."
"The decision and the surprise announcement were a masterpiece of communication and I'm proud of that."
All of the above.
None of the above.
8. By now
shareholders have collected nearly $7 billion from the Wall Street banks, accountants and lawyers that allegedly contributed to its 2001 collapse in a massive accounting fraud. Match the bank with the settlement.
J.P. Morgan Chase (JPM) .
9. Animation studio
warned twice in the space of two months that it would miss Wall Street's profit estimates. What event did the second warning postpone?
CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg's Wallace & Gromit launch party.
DreamWorks' July earnings conference call.
Chairman Roger Enrico's Shrek 2 DVD giveaway festval.
A $500 million secondary offering that would have let luminaries including Microsoft (MSFT) co-founder Paul Allen cash out some of his holdings.
10. Which well-respected chief executive made this comment on an investor conference call last month?
I believe there's been a plan since we were in our teens to destroy our stock, drive it down to $6 to $10 and to -- see it at the bottom of the sheet there. It says bottom feeder. There's a designated final owner who was to end up owning, who was to end up owning our company at the $6 to $10 range, and even a plan for how the company would then get whacked up among, if you could do a hostile takeover and take the product and how the company could be whacked up among a group of people who had participated. Hedge funds who had participated, not necessarily any of the ones I'm showing you here. I don't know.
Microsoft software architect Bill Gates.
General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt.
Overstock.com (OSTK) chief Patrick Byrne.
Time Warner (TWX) CEO Dick Parsons.
In our ongoing effort to enrich the reader experience, the Five Dumbest Things Lab now scores each item using our proprietary Dumb-o-Meter. This cutting-edge technology employs a finely calibrated, 100-point scale measuring sheer Dumbness, as calculated via a closely guarded secret formula.
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