1. Overhead SmashWe at the Five Dumbest Things Research Lab like to think that nothing surprises us. Until, that is, we hear a story like the New York Stock Exchange's watermelon incident. The New York Post's
|Wish I Had a Watermelon |
Gallagher at the NYSE
He's been playing the market since the mid-1980s, getting the bug despite losing a chunk of change on Apple ( AAPL). He estimates he's lost $300,000 in the market over the past three years, but he's up $80,000 over the past month. He's so into investing, he's got five different brokerage accounts, and he dreams of hosting a daily radio show for investors. But neither Sirius Satellite Radio ( SIRI) nor XM Satellite Radio ( XMSR) are returning his calls. Hmmm. The tech-stock bubble. Smashing a watermelon at the NYSE. There's a common theme here: the madness of crowds.
2. Talk About Triple Witching HourRemember back in 1991 when Philadelphia 76ers star Charles Barkley complained he'd been misquoted -- in his autobiography? Well, the financial world this week got its very own Barkley: Paul Gulden, manager of the ( PXWGX) Pax World Growth fund. It all started when TheStreet.com's ace personal finance reporter, Beverly Goodman, forwarded to us a Wednesday press release devoted to Gulden's outlook for tech stocks. The first thing that caught our eye was a Zagat Guide-like obsession with fragmentary quotes, as in the subheading "With 'Pioneer' and 'Platform' Tech Stocks Played Out, 'Ancillary' Tech Comes to Fore." What a "concept," we think. This fund manager's "ideas" are "interesting." The second thing we noticed was the write-up of Symbol Technologies ( SBL). "In the world of computing," reads the release, "technology is now in its fifth incantation."
|Wall Street Witchcraft |
Can't recant an incantation
3. Coincidentally, We're Changing Our Name to DumbThingLabSpeaking of good words gone bad, Barry Diller comes through again. The chief executive of USA Interactive ( USAI) -- the e-commerce parent of Ticketmaster, Expedia ( EXPE) and Hotels.com ( ROOM) -- announced Thursday that USA was changing its name. The next incantation of USA is slated to debut Monday, when the company will change its name to InterActiveCorp and start trading as IACI on the Nasdaq. We're of mixed feelings about this one. At this flag-waving moment in American history -- much of it thoughtful, some of it less so -- we think it takes guts to take the USA out of a company name. And Diller, we probably don't have to tell you, has guts. But InterActiveCorp? Is that the worst-possible name that USA could have chosen? Or just a close runner-up? Yes, we understand that Diller might want a name that reflects USA's business strategy, which is "to be the world's largest and most profitable interactive commerce company by pursuing a multibrand strategy," according to Thursday's press release. But InterActiveCorp? It's so generic. It's like one of those names lawyers make up when they need a shell corporation for a complicated acquisition. It sounds like the name of the villainous company in RoboCop.
|Barry's Blooper |
What's in a name?
4. Kind Of Makes Us Want to Run Out and Buy Amex MagazineSpeaking of regrettable name changes, the New Zealand Stock Exchange changed its name last month. The new name is the Somewhere Off the Coast of Australia Stock Exchange. No, not really. We just said that to irritate our New Zealand readers and confirm for them how little U.S. citizens know about the world around them. The new name is actually New Zealand Exchange Limited, or NZX for short. Go to their Web site,