First, the list of shame:
Worst CEO: RICHARD A. ALTOMARE of Universal Express. See the SEC litigation brief for an explanation of his stock fraud. The best part about this story is that his company took out a full-page ad in the New York Times to criticize “naked short sellers” and other critics. Now that the company is in receivership it looks like the Times won’t get end up getting paid for the ad.
Most Blatantly Overvalued Company: Continental Fuels (OTC BB: CFUL) wins this award. This small distillate distributor at one point had a fully-diluted market cap of $1.5 billion. It continues to trade at 40x my fair value estimate of $0.01 per share.
Most Hypocritical: Jim Cramer, for prattling on about various stocks and infecting people with the stock bug. Following his advice would incur huge trading fees and underperform the market. In his new book he advises investors to use index funds. I guess that advice doesn’t sell well on CNBC.
Dumbest Policy: The NYSE wins this hands down for their insane policy of requiring $2.50 in cash per share to short sell cheap stocks. This effectively prevents short sellers from short selling most penny stocks and makes it easier for pump-and-dump schemes to drive up the price of penny stock shares.
Now, the good list:
Best CEO: Joseph Sorge, formerly of Stratgene. He agreed to sell the company in April to Agilent [[a]] so that he could pursue other opportunities (seriously). The buyout price was at a nice premium to the stock’s price and was almost twice the stock’s 52-week low (near which I had bought). Besides just selling out, Sorge ran Stratagene well and kept investors well-informed. The company was and is highly-regarded for great products and knowledgeable sales people. Congratulations Joseph for being a great scientist and CEO.
Best Investment: Diversified low-cost index funds win! I will continue to say that they win each year until the day I die. I currently have most of my money in index ETFs including DEM, VTI, RZV, DGS, EFV, VWO, IVE, and IJS.
Best Financial Writer: David Baines of the Vancouver BC Sun. He has exposed numerous penny stock scams. He has earned the nickname “****ing piece of ****” from the former CEO of one of the companies he targeted. To misquote someone, while he may be a “****ing piece of ****”, he is OUR “****ing piece of ****”. Thanks David for putting some heat on the scammers and the ‘regulators’ that disgrace our continent.
Best New Investing Blog: Goodevalue.com, obviously.
Best New Investing Blog not written by me: Sequence Inc. Fraud Files, written by forensic accountant Tracy Coenen. While Tracy loses points for being a Packers fan, she gains them back for having red hair. I love her so much that she wins this award despite blogging for just over two years [corrected; I had previously said one year], stretching my definition of new almost to the breaking point. But her blog is new to me, and that is what counts.
Best Short Seller: Hats off to William Ackman of Pershing Square Capital. His bearish call on the bond insurers has been great so far. The carnage in that sector is already worse than almost anyone else imagined and it could get much worse.
Disclosure: I have no interest in any stock mentioned. I own all the ETFs mentioned. I have a strict disclosure policy.