5. Repros ReproachMarkets were closed last Friday in honor of Good Friday. Luckily for us, Repros Therapeutics ( RPRX) CEO Joe Podolski generously provided more than enough dumbness last Thursday to tide us through the long holiday weekend. On a conference call last Thursday morning, Podolski told analysts that his experimental testosterone drug Androxal helped gay Cubans have more sex. The gay Cubans entered the clinical trial with low testosterone, according to Podolski, yet after taking Androxal, their testosterone levels soared, leading to lots and lots and lots of sex. Seriously, we're not joking. We may kid about a lot of things, but gay Cuban sex is not one of them. Anyway, Podolski said the gay Cuban men had so much sex that it caused their sperm counts to drop precipitously. But he urged the crowd not to blame the plunge on Androxal. Podolski maintained instead that the lower sperm counts were the result of the gay Cubans having so much sex that their ammunition ran low.
What more can we say Dumbest fans? Res ipsa loquitur . And if that wasn't enough, TheStreet's Adam Feuerstein reported that at another point during the conference call, Podolski disclosed that a nurse at one of the Androxal clinical trial sites fabricated baseline sperm counts for patients. When Repros discovered the data fraud, the company changed the fishy numbers and everything turned out fine. A second phase III study of Androxal is under way with enrollment expect to wrap in May. Podolski insisted the data announced Thursday should convince investors that the second study will also be positive. Repros bulls are probably looking forward to the next report and not just for its racy content. Shares of the stock spiked nearly 80% on Podolski's pronouncements despite the trial's inconsistencies and the missing Androxal data. Then again, fundamentals aren't really a factor when it comes to Repros stock. Nearly half the company's shares have been sold short, opening up the possibility for the bulls to once again squeeze the bears where it hurts. And that can't be good for their sperm counts either.
4. Apple's ApologyLook. We admit Tim Cook is in a no-win position following in the footsteps of tech legend Steve Jobs. But that doesn't mean Apple's ( AAPL) CEO has to continually act like such a loser, now does it? Cook apologized to Chinese consumers Monday for his company's iPhone warranty policies. Prior to Cook's kowtowing, the technology giant suffered two weeks of repeated beatings in the state-run media about its after-sales service. Government-controlled media outlets including China Central Television (CCTV) and the People's Daily newspaper chastised Apple for its "arrogance," saying its current one-year service plan was far less comprehensive than those it offers in smaller markets. "We are aware that owing to insufficient external communication, some consider Apple's attitude to be arrogant, inattentive or indifferent to consumer feedback," Cook said in a letter written in Chinese on the company's local Web site. "We express our sincere apologies for causing consumers any misgivings or misunderstanding."
It's about time Tim! CCTV went on-air with its charges on March 15th. Why on earth did it take you till April Fools Day to concede you acted like a fool in your second largest market? Have you not noticed the parade of apologies by the folks at Yum! Brands and Wal-Mart following their Chinese product problems? Come on buddy. Everybody knows by now that you better be quick to be contrite in China. Why didn't you?
And yes, we understand that this whole kerfuffle is less about a faulty product than a Politburo power trip. There is enough freedom of speech squeaking through the cracks over there for us to realize that this is not a true consumer revolt. We know this because as long as it took Tim to draft his apology, that's how fast the Chinese government magnanimously accepted it. On Tuesday, the Foreign Ministry praised Apple for "conscientiously" responding to so-called consumer demands saying, "We approve of what Apple said." Let's be serious folks, these guys don't want to give up their iPads over a silly warrantee issue. Not in the least! And especially not after they just downloaded Taylor Swift's new album on iTunes. Still, even if Cook put this episode behind him and learned a valuable lesson in the process about responding quicker to Chinese authorities, he may be running out of time with an entirely different set of overlords. On Tuesday, Goldman Sachs ( GS) yanked the technology giant from its Americas Conviction List, saying that it doubted the company's ability to hit consensus estimates for the next two quarters. Goldman maintained its buy on the stock, but lowered its 12 month price target to $575 from $660 previously. Whether or not that was a veiled shot at Cook's competence, we don't know. But Tim may want to start cooking up an apology just in case. It's all he's got going for him right now.