5 Dumbest Things on Wall Street This Summer: Aug. 30

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Holy crap! Is summer over already? It seems like only yesterday when we were hanging out at a Memorial Day BBQ, plotting to write the next great American novel and counting the hot, hazy days until Michael Dell bought back his own company.

Well, Labor Day is now upon us and neither Mike nor us has made much headway toward our goals. Sad to say, that summer wind has blown right by us both.

Still, the summer of 2013 wasn't a total waste. We may not have penned the next Huckleberry Finn -- that will have to wait till next summer -- but we did have a whole lot of fun finding Wall Street's dumbest things these past three months.

So before we officially close the books on the season and focus on the fall, here's a quick look back at the 5 Dumbest Things on Wall Street This Summer.

We'll see you in September. (You too Mike, especially if Carl Icahn has his way!)

5. Loeb Lays Down

Originally published Aug. 9.

Dan Loeb must have lost his superpowers because Batman beat his ass down.

The Third Point hedge fund manager, famous for his spiteful, yet highly profitable takedowns of Yahoo! ( YHOO) CEO Scott Thompson and Herbalife ( HLF) antagonist Bill Ackman, toned down his attack on Sony ( SNE) management this week, even after CEO Kazuo Hirai summarily dismissed his proposal to spin off up to 20% of the company's entertainment assets. Shares of Sony fell 9% this week following Hirai's rejection of Loeb's plan.

Loeb lit into Sony's CEO last week after Hirai sloughed off Sony's big budget bombs After Earth and White House Down. Loeb, who reportedly owns 7% of the company, referred to the films as "2013's versions of Waterworld and Ishtar" and called it "perplexing" that Hirai gave "free passes" to the Sony executives responsible for the box office flops.

This week, however, the usually acid-tongued Loeb offered a bit of honey instead, saying in a Variety interview, "It is probably unfair to focus on one or two bad movies, just in the way that Third Point from time to time can have one or two bad months or a bad year. What is important is the overall profitability and margins over a period of time."

What the heck, Dan? Why did you go soft on Sony all of a sudden? You went from flamethrower to flaccid. That's not like you at all.

Be honest. Did George Clooney's defense of the company get to you? When George said last week that you know "nothing about our business," did it faze you? Because from our perspective it looked the Batman & Robin star put kryptonite in one of your 10Qs.

"Notwithstanding the fact that the media likes to create a stir, I admire Mr. Clooney's passion for Sony and his loyalty to Sony and his friends there," said Loeb, replying to George's jabs. "We are all for intelligent investment in creative content. I believe our interests are aligned in a way he probably doesn't realize." Clooney, for the record, is directing and starring in the World War II-era thriller The Monuments Men, which Sony is co-financing with Fox.

What a load of crap Dan. Wall Street masters of the universe should not be backing down from Hollywood pretty boys, so man up and go kick Clooney's ass! If you ask us, he deserves it for dumping Stacy Keibler anyway.

4. Cool Hand Cohen

Originally published July 26.

Picture this Dumbest fans:

INT. SAC CAPITAL TRADING FLOOR
An SEC agent kneels before Steve Cohen and begins hammering on the iron shackles between his feet. Silence except for the HAMMERING AND CLINKING. Steve is silhouetted with the bright lights from the television cameras glowing behind him, reflecting off his bald head. The Captain looks past Cohen to the stunned traders in a line before him.

CAPTAIN (to Cohen)


You gonna get used to wearing them chains after a while, Stevie. Butyou never stop listening to themclinking. Cause they gonna remind you ofwhat I been saying. It's for your own good.

COHEN

I wish you'd stop being so good to me Captain.

The Captain feeds his fury staring at Cohen then reaches out his hand behind him. SEC boss Mary Jo White lays the subpoena in it. Trembling with rage, the Captain takes a convulsive step forward and brings the legal summons down behind Steve's ear, knocking off his glasses. As Steve leans down to pick up his spectacles:

CAPTAIN
Don't you never talk that way to me!Never! Never!

The Captain's rage subsides and his voice becomes calm, reasonable.
CAPTAIN (to the traders)
What we got here is a failure to supervise. Some men you just can't reach, so you get what we had here last week, which is the way he wants it. Well, he gets it. I don't like it any more than you men.

Nodding curtly, the Captain and his crew turn to leave. The SEC agent throws the hammer down. It CLATTERS until it lands beside Cohen. The group heads towards the door until Cohen stops them mid-stride.
COHEN
Um, excuse me, Captain. But what exactly does that mean?

CAPTAIN

What's that?
COHEN
"Failure to supervise." I don't get it.

The Captain walks forward until he is nose-to-nose with Cohen.
CAPTAIN
You got something better in mind tough guy?
COHEN
Well, if you're looking for a nebulous charge that will never stick, how about 'Failure to Communicate'?

The two men maintain their icy stares in silence. Mary Jo White steps up behind the Captain and whispers in his ear. He nods his understanding.
CAPTAIN
Can't do it Cohen. We're saving that one for Corzine.

3. Holder Loses Grip

Originally published Aug. 16.

Hold on a second, Holder! We here at the Dumbest Lab are quite familiar with government agencies making massive data revisions. So much so, in fact, that we now wait an extra month to get monthly nonfarm payroll numbers we can believe in.

(Seriously Bureau of Labor Statistics? The economy added 162,000 jobs in July? Yeah, right! We'll see what you say in September!)

Nevertheless, hearing the FBI restate its figures, well, that is arresting indeed.

The Department of Justice said late last Friday that it had severely overstated the results of a year-long mortgage fraud initiative in a press conference last October. Attorney General Eric Holder originally said that the "Distressed Homeowner Initiative," a nationwide effort to target fraud schemes that preyed upon suffering homeowners, had resulted in 530 criminal charges. Holder added at the time that the cases involved over 73,000 borrowers with losses totaling $1 billion.

It turns out, however, that those numbers coming from President Obama's top cop were way, way off.

The number of criminal charges was actually 107, admitted the FBI after being pressed by our buddies at Bloomberg. Federal agencies also corrected victim's losses to $95 million from $1 billion and the number of victims to 17,185 from more than 73,000.

Somebody get Alanis Morrisette on the phone. Forget "rain on your wedding day," that's not ironic at all, it's just bad luck. If you want to talk irony, well, a prime example would be the point man for the Obama Administration's Mortgage Fraud Working Group publicly announcing fraudulent statistics!

Perhaps even sadder was the fact that these fearless crime-fighters tried to sneak out this correction late on a Friday to sidestep the news cycle. Um, excuse us, officers, but unlike the shady hedge fund managers and insider traders that you fail to put away, we journalists work full days during the summer. We don't jet out to the Hamptons at noon to beat traffic and bad PR.

"We cannot merely investigate after the fact," said FBI Associate Deputy Director Kevin Perkins last fall when the phony numbers were first announced. "We must use intelligence and sophisticated techniques to identify and stop those who seek to defraud American homeowners."

Hilariously, it turns out that the FBI didn't investigate after the fact at all. It left that to Bloomberg, which in turn left the agency looking far less than sophisticated and anything but intelligent.

2. Dell's Straw Poll

Originally published Aug. 9.

What the Dell ( DELL) is going on down there in Round Rock, Texas? Don't these folks understand that elections this interminable and inane are expressly reserved for the Presidency of the United States and not struggling PC-makers?

Fine. Maybe the Mayor of New York City as well. But still, enough is enough!

Barely a week after making the latest in his string of "last and final" offers, Michael Dell sweetened his buyout bid last Friday by adding a special 13 cent dividend on top of his of $13.75 a share proposal. By plucking this cherry straight from his own pocket and placing it atop his prior proposal, Michael Dell and his private equity partner Silver Lake convinced the company's special committee to amend the voting rules so that abstentions no longer count as opposing votes. The switch will likely win them the company in their battle against activist investor Carl Icahn, who sued the tech company in a Delaware court to block the changes.

"We are pleased today to have won yet another battle, but the war regarding Dell is far from over," said Icahn said about the increased proposal in a statement. "We are not satisfied. We believe that an increase of a mere 13 cents is an insult to shareholders." Icahn added 4 million shares of Dell to his holdings last week, bringing his total to 9% of the company.

Sorry Carl, Geddy Lee and all you Rush fans, there will be no Freewill here. If you choose not to decide in this election, you have not made a choice.

And Lord knows, we all just wish they would make a decision already. This new Dell deal delays the third -- and hopefully final -- attempt at a shareholder vote until Sept. 12. For those that may have elected to forget, this process publicly started back in early February when Michael announced he was shopping the struggling company.

This circus actually started for Michael Dell over a year ago in July 2012 when somebody from Silver Lake persuaded him to take his foundering PC company private by whispering sweet billions into his ear.

Something tells us he regrets that conversation more than anybody right now, considering how long and drawn out this affair has become. And Wall Street analysts say Icahn's complaint will prolong the battle even after Iowa Republicans cast their ballots next month.

Sorry, we meant Dell shareholders, not Iowa Republicans. Their 2016 Presidential straw poll isn't slated for another two years according to our calendar.

Although at this juncture we wouldn't be surprised if the G.O.P. picks its winner before Dell does.

1. Auf Wiedersehen Ackman

Originally published Aug. 16.

The board room of J.C. Penney ( JCP) is probably still alive with the sound of music following Bill Ackman's decision to step down Tuesday. And we can only imagine that Penney's Chairman Thomas Engibous and CEO Mike Ullman have been enjoying as many of their favorite things as possible since the activist investor said so long, farewell.

Of course, they haven't totally solved their problem named Bill Ackman. His Pershing Square hedge fund still owns almost 18% of the once-iconic retailer's shares, so he could still do further damage to the company he and his handpicked CEO Ron Johnson have essentially destroyed. Bill has lost a whole lot of Do-Re-Mi on this stock, and as much as he likes to climb every mountain, we expect him to ditch that position faster than the von Trapps fled Austria now that he's off the board.

Seriously, you'd have to be smoking edelweiss to think he's going to stick around considering all that's happened. But let's not dwell on that for now. We'd rather sing.

(To the Tune of So Long, Farewell from The Sound of Music)
(JCP Board Members)
There's a sad sort of clanging
From a schmuck in the hall
And the bells around Plano, too
And here in Penney's board room
An absurd little bird
Is leaving us, cause he's coo-coo
(Coo-coo, coo-coo)

(Bill Ackman)
Regretfully they tell me
But firmly they compel me
to say goodnight
(Coo-coo)
To you

(JCP Board Members)
So long, farewell
Auf Wiedersehen, goodnight
(Ackman)
I hate to go and leave this petty fight

(JCP Board Members)
So long, farewell
Auf Wiedersehen, adieu

(Ackman)
Screw you, Screw you
To you and you and you

(JCP Board Members)
So long, farewell
Au revoir, Auf Weidersehen

(Ackman)
I'd like to stay
And drive Ullman insane

(To JCP Chairman Thomas Engibous) Yes?
(Engibous) No! What are you nuts?

(JCP Board Members)
So long, farewell
Auf Weidersehen, goodbye

(Ackman)
I leave, but unlike
at Target (TGT) I won't cry.
Goodbye!
(JCP Board Members)
Fine! Will you just leave already? Nobody here is going to miss you.
(Ackman)
I'm glad to go
I cannot tell a lie.
I'm getting reamed
by Carl on Herbalife (HLF)!

(JCP Board Members)
Are you still here? You really are a megalomaniac. Just get out already! Somebody call security. Better yet, get Carl Icahn on the phone!

(Ackman)
The sun has gone
To bed and so must I.
So long, farewell
Auf Weidersehen, goodbye
Goodbye
Goodbye

Good...Hello? Charlie Rose? Yeah, it's me Bill...Sure I'll tell you my side of the story. The board was totally out to get me. And so is Carl Icahn and Dan Loeb and George Soros and Howard Schultz and Vanity Fair and...Am I what? Paranoid? How dare you?
Goodbye!

-- Written by Gregg Greenberg in New York

Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors and reporters from holding positions in any individual stocks.

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