The 5 dumbest things on Wall Street

This week's dumbest business moves include Gupta's insider trading case, Weatherford's big accounting error and Consumer Reports' Chevy Volt slight.

By TheStreet Staff Mar 4, 2011 11:56AM

By TheStreet Staff, TheStreet


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


5. Gupta trips on tips


Typically insider trading cases involve lower level Wall Street soldiers that stumble into information that they realize can net them a quick pay day. They are also quickly caught, since the usually call their family broker to buy millions of shares of a no name stock just before it skyrockets.


For Securities and Exchange Commission enforcers, the case of former Goldman Sachs (GS) and Proctor & Gamble (PG) director Rajat Gupta should have been like shooting fish in a barrel. He allegedly tipped off Galleon Management hedge fund guru Raj Rajaratnam with inside information that later translated into millions in profitable trades. Read more 


4. Weatherford makes a wrong move


The ticker symbol for oil services company Weatherford International (WFT) may be WFT, but this week investors were more likely thinking WTF.

Four years after Weatherford International relocated its headquarters to Switzerland in an effort to create a more efficient multinational tax structure, it revealed that its lack of internal controls missed a big accounting error in 2007, an error that was allowed to linger for four years. Read more


3. Radient raises the dead


Radient Pharmaceuticals (RPC) is promising investors some rather amazing things will come from a cancer-screening program in India. Douglas MacLellan, Radient's chief executive, said in a recent interview that the company was negotiating for an expanded contract with the "Rajiv Gandhi government" in India to boost sales of Onko-Sure, a blood-based cancer test.


Unfortunately for MacLellan, Gandhi is not the prime minister of India. In fact, Gandhi is dead. Gandhi served as India's prime minister from 1984 to 1989. He was assassinated -- killed by a suicide bomber tied to the militant Tamil Tigers -- in 1991. Eight Indian prime ministers, including incumbent Manmohan Singh, have served in that post since Gandhi left office. Read more


2. J&J tied up in nots


Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) recalled nine lots of Sudafed. But don't worry consumers, this recall, unlike the many others preceding it, wasn't caused by problematic manufacturing methods or unsavory plant conditions. Instead, the lots were recalled on Friday after a typo was found on the label.


"Do not not divide, crush, chew, or dissolve the tablet," the packaging reads, but the double negative of "not not," was unintentional, according to the company. Read more


1. Electric cars lose more charge


Consumer Reports released its 2011 car buying issue this week and among the big headlines was the decision to not recommend General Motors' (GM) Chevy Volt. In fact, Consumer Reports advised car buyers to buy the $23,000 Toyota Prius over the $40,000 Volt.

"We would have really liked to have loved it," David Champion, director of Consumer Reports auto test center told Reuters this week, adding, "It was fun to drive and the ride quality was pretty good. But when you look at the finances, for us it doesn't make any sense." Read more


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