The 5 dumbest things on Wall Street

Cisco shutters the Flip video camera. A new government budget makes no bleep on the radar despite earlier hoopla. GE bounces back from fake press release.

By TheStreet Staff Apr 15, 2011 11:20AM

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


5. Cisco flips out


Cisco (CSCO) finally faced up to the reality of its shortsighted $590 million bet on the Flip video camera this week.


The decision to shutter Flip was faintly praised by Wall Street, only because burning $590 million on Flip in the first place was such a headsmacker to anyone who has owned a cell phone. They've been around for quite a while, and cameras were certainly not a new feature to phones when Cisco thought buying Flip was a great idea less than two years ago.

Call us crazy, but we'd like to think that someone employed at one of the world's leading tech companies could have connected the ones and zeros on this one. Read more


4. A budget battle for Bupkis


After a budget battle that devolved into angst over Planned Parenthood, leadership from both sides of the aisle trumpeted that the agreed upon omnibus spending bill would shave $38.5 billion from government spending. We've now learned that not all the cards were ever really on the table. The drop in the bucket is even tinier than we thought.


An analysis released on Wednesday by the Congressional Budget Office revealed that the spending bill, approved by the House of Representatives on Thursday, really only cuts about $352 million by Sept. 30. Not only are many of the claimed reductions phased in over time, but emergency spending items -- such as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan -- will increase and offset reductions. Read more


3. GE, AP get punked


General Electric (GE) was the victim of a fake press release pulled together by anticorporate prankster the Yes Men that said GE would "repay its entire $3.2 billion tax refund to the U.S. Treasury on April 18."


"It is a hoax," GE spokeswoman Anne Eisele told TheStreet.


General Electric has faced intense criticism over its low tax bill since The New York Times recently published a front page article saying the company will pay no federal taxes despite earning more than $14 billion in profits in 2010. The Times story also stated that GE "claimed a tax benefit of $3.2 billion." Read more


2. Jumbo Jets put the squeeze on airports


The world's largest commercial airliner clipped a much smaller plane on the tarmac at Kennedy International Airport on Monday night, tossing it like it had been a toy car in a child's hands. Who could have seen that coming?


Regardless of whether the pilots or the air traffic controllers are found to be at fault, one apparent certainty is that anyone could have seen this coming. The Airbus A380 has a wingspan of 262 feet; JFK's taxiway -- the industry standard -- is 75 feet. A little basic math, throw in a couple other dozen planes of various sizes in the vicinity, and yikes. Read more


1. Clear Channel takes 'dead' aim on target audience

Clear Channel Communications recently came under fire for posting a giant advertisement for the zombie-themed television program "The Walking Dead" on the outside wall of a funeral parlor in the town of Consett in England. Read more


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