NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- I'm not easily irritated, but nothing bugs me more than when investors put "hope" on the same level as quantitative assessments of a company, such as a cold, dissection of its income statement. The stock market provides all sorts of hints about where it is headed, but investors often choose only those hints that point in the direction they want -- or "hope" -- the market to go.
Now I'm not going to pretend that I'm a psychologist, but as a former longtime shareholder in Sirius XM Radio ( SIRI), I think I qualify to discuss what happens when "hope" in the stock market meets chronic disappointment. After all, how how many times has the company failed to meet expectations? The company plans to report first-quarter earnings Tuesday. Some investors are clinging to the belief that the company will not only deliver a market-beating performance but will also raise subscriber guidance to make up for what was perceived to be a low-ball projection earlier in the year. Even if Sirius raises guidance and delivers a "good" quarter, the question is what will it mean for the stock. It will mean very little if anything at all.
So in a market where the average return per equity is less than 10%, a question arises: What is so special about Sirius XM that compels investors not only to disregard valuation metrics, but also to become heavily invested in hope? The market has been saying for quite some time that it is willing to offer $2.50 and not a penny more. This has long been the top of the range for the stock. Each time Sirius XM has traded at more than $2.40, all those investors who bought shares the last time the stock was so high dump them, trying to break even on what has been a disappointment. This time won't be any different.