In what could be the most important election of 2016, TheStreet is looking for the Worst Stock in the World and we need your help. In these times of market turbulence, its our job to watch out for the worst investments that can sink your portfolio. Our search is not merely limited to the worst stock in the Dow or S&P. We are going global and accepting nominations from our readers for the absolute worst stock in the world. This article is part of an ongoing series talking about these stocks and why they're the worst. If you have an idea as to what the worst stock in the world is, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Being the worst at something is no joke.
From an investing standpoint, the worst stock in the world is often so because the underlying company is the worst. It's an entity where, based on the financial statement trends and a common-sense take on future prospects, one wonders how the stock continues to be traded on public markets.
Without question, the worst stock in the world is levered to the hands-down worst publicly traded company known to humankind. That name is none other than Sears Holdings (SHLD) . There isn't even a close second. In fact, the company doesn't warrant me even trying to order the things wrong with it in terms of importance -- it's all so damn awful. Enjoy this tidy list:
1. CEO may live in a cave. Part of the unwritten deal of being a CEO of a public company is getting your rear end on earnings calls and fielding questions from nosy stock analysts. Furthermore, as part of that silent pact, the CEO has to make some form of public reappearances, either on TV to discuss challenges inherent to the business, discuss recent wins and hype future opportunities, or at speeches. Sears CEO and majority shareholder Eddie Lampert is never on earnings calls (which are prerecorded to reduce the opportunity for analysts to hammer inept management). I have never seen him do a TV interview. Has anyone who is not a billionaire snob who runs in his hedge-fund circles seen this clown in the past 10 years? Zero accountability. Zero insight into his thinking.
A raggedy Sears deli with a half-stocked, dark display cooler. (Credit: Brian Sozzi)
2. The CEO has no connection to the business. Often the best CEOs have a passion for the brand, giving off a sense they know the company's history and where it's headed. Think the passionate founder/CEO of Starbucks, Howard Schultz, which has coffee running through his veins seemingly around the clock. Or Harley-Davidson CEO Matt Levatich, who is a walking Harley-Davidson encyclopedia and avid hog rider. Sears' Lampert is not a retail guy -- he is a hedge fund manager trying not to totally lose his shirt on a bad investment by selling off zombie properties. Question to Chicagoans (Sears' hometown): Have you ever seen Eddie Lampert walking around a local Sears? That question goes out to the employees of both Sears and Kmart.
3. Management team is virtually nonexistent. I can't remember execs at Sears ever presenting at an investment banking conference or holding an investor day to discuss long-term prospects. Why? There is nothing to be excited about, a situation they created. Enough said.