5 dumbest things on Wall Street

Germany's takeover of the NYSE, Pepsi's plunge into the food wars and J.C. Penney's Google gaming were among the week's biggest business blunders.

By TheStreet Staff Feb 18, 2011 2:15PM

By TheStreet Staff, TheStreet


Here is this week's roundup of the dumbest actions on Wall Street.


5. Das NYSE is kaput

Wall Street on Tuesday went apoplectic over the announcement that Germany's Deutsche Boerse would buy a controlling stake in NYSE Euronext (NYX). Shortly after the announcement the media was filled with an interesting mix of whining, xenophobia and self loathing from all sides of the political spectrum.


Donald Trump was quoted as saying "I think it's ridiculous that this country would allow Germany to buy our New York Stock Exchange. It's another black eye for the United States -- victory for Germany, not the United States."


Of course, he may have a grudge against Germany ever since Deutsche Bank (DB) sued him for defaulting on a construction loan in 2008. You know those Germans, expecting to be paid back. Jerks.




4. Pepsi celebrates skinny


Pepsi (PEP) is getting into the habit of plunging headlong into all aspects of the food wars. At least, it seems perfectly willing to taunt anti-obesity and health advocates.

A couple weeks ago, it was CEO Indra Nooyi telling Fox Business News that "Doritos are not bad for you." Nope, they are "nothing more than corn mashed up, fried up in oil, and flavored in the most delectable way." Eat up.


This week, the company washed that grease-coated gem of healthy eating advice down by unveiling its new Diet Pepsi "skinny can" at New York Fashion Week. The can itself, we'll concede, is a good idea that's probably long overdue. The marketing of this new can, however, is flat.




3. J.C. Penney caught gaming Google


Could J.C. Penney's  (JCP) Google (GOOG) whoring have inflated holiday sales?


The New York Times revealed this week that for several months around the key holiday season, the department store bested millions of Web sites to land the No. 1 spot for generic search terms like "bedding," "area rug" and "dresses." It even appeared on the top of Google's search ahead of larger (and sometimes more relevant) rivals like Wal-Mart (WMT), Target (TGT) and Amazon (AMZN).


While one can argue that the company, with 1,100 stores and $17.8 billion in sales in 2010, holds the same influence as these other bigwigs, could Google really have believed it was the most relevant site for these searches? Either Google's much-touted algorithm was flawed or something fishy was going on.




2. Apple Leaks the Attention


Apple (AAPL) blinked this week and floated the iPhone Nano balloon.


The Nasdaq ($COMPX) heavyweight was unable to sit still while Nokia (NOK) and Microsoft (MSFT) grabbed headlines in London last week with the fateful strategic leap from a burning platform. Then Apple was forced to hear the jazz about HTC Cha Cha and Salsa Facebook phones coming out of the big Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona this week. Making it all harder to stomach, Apple wasn't selling many Verizon iPhones.


Now if you were Apple you'd probably try to play it cool, take it all in stride. But Apple's not like that at all.




1. Allstate ices charity


You're in good hands with Allstate (ALL). That is, unless you're a charity.


Last weekend, between periods of the U.S. Hockey League's Indiana Ice game, Richard Marsh had an opportunity to win $50,000 by shooting a puck the length of the ice into a small cutout hole in the goal. The Allstate Good Hands Shootout, as it was called, happened to be taking place on Hockey for Heart night.


Marsh had the option of keeping the money or donating it. Prior to taking his shot he committed to donating the money, IF he made it.


And he did.


Except, a review found that Marsh was ahead of the shooting line when he released his shot, giving him the extra couple inches of advantage that can't be tolerated when attempting to raise money for charity.




In light of all this dumbness, we now ask you: Which is this week's dumbest of the dumb stories? Take our poll to see what TheStreet has to say.


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