2017 Turkey of the Year

By Travis Johnson, Stock Gumshoe, November 22, 2017

I love Thanksgiving. I love that we all try to remember to slow down our lives a little bit, spend time with family and friends, and give thanks for the incredible blessings most of us enjoy (and often take for granted).

But I also love naming our annual “Turkey” teaser stock.

What is this? Well, if you haven’t been around these parts for long it’s the continuation of a tradition that started in November of 2008, when Stock Gumshoe was about a year and a half old. Here’s how I described it back then:

“This honor is not bestowed lightly — to be named Turkey of the Year in Gumshoedom, you must have been a truly awful stock idea, chosen within the last twelve months, and, preferably, you should stand for all that is entertaining (and misleading) in stock newsletter teaser ads.”

Seeking out these Turkeys is made easier by our tracking spreadsheets, of course, which we’ve been keeping since we started solving these teasers for you in 2007… so we know which stocks were hinted at and teased as “God’s gift to the individual investor” over the years, and we know exactly what happened to them after that. You can browse those spreadsheets yourself if you like, they’re all on our Teaser Tracking page here, so you can also sniff around and see if your Turkey is different than mine this year.

So it’s not just that we identify the worst teaser pick of the past twelve months — though usually the Turkey is one of the worst few picks (there are almost always a couple stocks that are teased by newsletters which fall by at least 90% in any given year, and typically at least one that falls by 99 or 100% and disappears into bankruptcy). The Turkey has to stand out, too, for the absurdity of the newsletter ad’s promise when contrasted with the actual stock’s performance — you’re not going to win “Turkey of the Year” if you promise 20% gains and your stock falls by 90%… you need to promise us that crazy thousand-percent gains are right around the corner, and you need to make that promise with a straight face.

This year has been better than many in Gumshoedom — not as many teased stocks have descended into the 90%+ loss pit, and the win/loss ratio is better than usual… that’s what a bull market gets you, no matter how aged it might be. But, as usual, there were a few big losers… and, of course, pretty much all of the teaser stocks, even the ones that did pretty well, failed to deliver on the ridiculous promises made in their name.

But the two that make the short list are Chicago Bridge & Iron (CBI), which was pitched by Brad Hoppmann as a huge post-Trump infrastructure investment winner just after Thanksgiving last year… and the more recent pick by Cabot Small-Cap Confidential of Aqua Metals (AQMS).

It’s a tough call… Aqua Metals was teased as a “$17 battery doubler going to $35” and is a company whose business model looked appealing at first glance… but which, on further inspection (and further stock market attention) turned out to be a hollow promise, with the stock reflecting that by falling 80% in about six months.

And Chicago Bridge & Iron is an energy construction and engineering company that faltered thanks to their failure to win new projects or make the expected profits on the projects they already have. And it also stands as a lesson in PE ratios — CBI had a forward PE of about 7 and therefore looked pretty cheap a year ago, when analysts were optimistic that their $4-5 in earnings would repeat for years… but it turned out that the $4 in earnings didn’t show up, and they lost more than $2 a share instead. And now, looking out into the future, the expectation from those same analysts is that they will earn close to $2 a share in 2018 and another $2.50 in 2019, so the forward PE is, well, right around $7 again.

So we’ll let math make the call for us… AQMS is down 90% compared to the S&P 500, while CBI is down only about 70%, so Aqua Metals makes the grade as the Turkey of the Year for 2017.

And it helps that Aqua Metals is more clearly a single-stock disaster whose plan didn’t work, while Chicago Bridge & Iron can spread at least some blame around on the still-weak energy markets and the lack of infrastructure spending (though the other two stocks Hoppmann teased, TTEK and NWPX, did much better than CBI). Both stocks came with ridiculous promises — Tyler Laundon told us Aqua Metals was on its way to doubling again, and it was instead just about to roll over… Brad Hoppmann told us CBI could easily rise 95% in just a few months.

There are plenty of weak stocks in the world, of course — and I should point out the biggest recent turkey in my own portfolio, US Gold Corp. (USAU), which is down 50% or so in the six months since I bought shares, despite the fact that gold is up about 1% and the S&P 500 is up about 6%.

And, of course, I’m sure you all have your own turkeys to throw on the Thanksgiving table for us — have any turkeys you’ve traded or happily avoided? Thanks to give for stocks you’ve failed to fall for? Let us know with a comment below… and have a Happy Thanksgiving!


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62 Comments on "2017 Turkey of the Year"

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tjboston
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0
tjboston

GE, anyone? 🙂

jim cole
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0
jim cole

I’ll 2nd that motion re GE; 2017 #1 DOG OF THE DOW

Martin
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Martin

Yes, GE, but worth buying now, I think, while Wall St hates it…

sheldon
Irregular
234
sheldon

Careful. A close friend works for them and describes a dysfunctional corporate climate.

admdr5
Irregular
704
admdr5
$ PIRS LONG 23-Nov-2017:07:48:00, Pieris Pharmaceuticals Appoints James Geraghty as Chairman of the Board of Directors BOSTON, MA – Pieris Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: PIRS), a clinical-stage biotechnology company advancing novel biotherapeutics through its proprietary Anticalin technology platform for cancer, respiratory and other diseases, announced today that James Geraghty has been appointed Chairman of the Board of Directors. Mr. Geraghty replaces Chau Q. Khuong, who is stepping down from the Board after helping guide Pieris through platform validation and partnerships to its transition into a fully-integrated research and clinical development company. On behalf of the Company, I am thrilled to welcome… Read more »
get_smart
Guest
0

GE getting into IOIT (Internet Of Industrial Things) is the best thing they have done in over a decade.

SoGiAm
Irregular
9630

$Gobble, Gobble – Have some wonderful ThanksGiving Holidays and Beyond ALL! The Turkey of the year thus far is $CDNL. Shall Kevin Jones ever come clean with his shareholders and all those who trusted him? I have a another runner-up or three, but one is too many! Long this great caring and sharing Gummunity! 🙂 #Best2ALL! 🙂 >>>>–Benjammin’————->

hedy1234
Irregular
1022
hedy1234

Hi Travis’

Any way to automate the subscription service for Irregulars so that once they click on subscribe it is down without further entry?

Fabian
Guest
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Fabian

My Turkey of the year: TEVA. Lesson; always sell at the first gap down and never average at the bottom (it’s often only the first bottom). Lesson I know for many years but I can’t, I have to buy.
My avoided Turkey of the year; AQMS. Sold it when it went below the cloud. What I do when I trade a stock. I avoided many Turkeys with this technique.

trope1
Irregular
-10

Hey guys,
I’m a former Payments exec and wanted to clue all in on a new exciting payments processor called Glance Pay (GLNNF). It’s now started to get some traction and some are calling it the next Paypal. GET ONBOARD. GOOD LUCK AND HAPPY THANKSGIVING GUMMIE.

backoffice
Irregular
187

$GLNNF is Glance Technologies and it’s been climbing nicely. I’ve asked Travis to look at it for some feedback $RQHTF is another cheap one where so far I’ve been able to triple my investment. Happy Thanksgiving

Larry
Guest
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Larry

Bought Glance in early October and bought more recently. Looks like a good one. Hope they get some buy-in with US restaurant chains, as this is a Canadian company. Keeping an eye on it every day and have not been disappointed.

sjdunham
Irregular
21
sjdunham

Funny – got an email from Morningstar just today listing CBI as one of their top ten “conviction” buys for new investment, with a four-star rating. I guess they’re expecting it to do well next year, at least: from gobbling with the turkeys to soaring with the eagles…

Speaking of turkeys, anybody remember all the bazillion-percent touting about silver around the beginning of 2017? Bzzzt.

Fabian
Guest
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Fabian

And happy Thanksgiving and thanks for all these interesting articles.

enuhfer
Irregular
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enuhfer

Tahoe Resources is the unpardonable turkey hiding out in my portfolio. Off with its head 🙂

Cmint
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0
Cmint

SunEdison—-bankruptcy! Pfffft! Gobble gobble

Richard Whisler
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Richard Whisler

Happy Thanksgiving,
Should we Buy USAU now?

braisin-raisin
Irregular
40
braisin-raisin

Although I live in Germany and we don’t have a Thanksgiving Day (wish we had), I do have one of those Turkey shares: Marapharm! Not quite 90% down but pretty down. Maybe they all smoke their own pot instead of getting the company going, who knows! Thank goodness I only bought very little.
Enjoy your Turkey-Day, Travis! Always a pleasure to read your delightful and enlightening comments.

sandy_shore
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sandy_shore

I cut my losses on QCOM right before it climbed 33% in less than 30 days. Pass the gravy, please.

mishu64
Irregular
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mishu64

Sandy
I feel as u do. Once “qcom” made it to my even price the next day came the buyout news, and the stock went up $10.00 and kept going. Lost lots of potential profits.

captjack68
Irregular
5
captjack68

CB&I had to sell it’s best division to keep from going bankrupt in ’17. Since that div will no longer bring in big jobs the likelyhood of bankruptcy still looms large in ’18

Marc
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Marc

NVDA. After a fifteen percent drop to $97 I sold my position thinking it was going to head further south. After relocating the funds, I watched it head to where it is now. Ouch. What a turkey I am…..

v4t1n4
Irregular
31

Ghosts of (Canadian) Thanksgivings past, I did just about the same with Constellation Brands coupla years ago. Hope to catch a retroactive collateral break with the $WEED connection now.

Lee Scott Turek
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Lee Scott Turek

NVDA. I also dropped as it went down to $100. In a few months it’s gone to $215. Luckily I got in at $30. Still kicking myself. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

get_smart
Guest
0

Don’t be to hard on yourself. Just buy 1500 shares of ADM at $10 then right earnings after earning sell at $15.00 or so sell. Or use options. Won’t even tell how many bags. If INTC buys AMD , debt is killing AMD. And with INTC has deep pockets.

mishu64
Irregular
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mishu64

Made the same mistake at 20%. Know the felling.

Robo
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Robo

GGI Lucky to have missed the pump and dump!

Reptile
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Reptile
In my estimation, I’m the biggest Turkey this year. I jumped out of NVDA when it hit $117.00 and it immediately climbed to $160.00, then proceeded to $200.00. I fell for the ICPT bargain at $123.00 and it immediately fell to $93.00. I thought it would overcome the bad press and it fell to $60.00 before I bailed. Then there’s CMG that dropped $100.00 a share before I escaped. I also fell for a scam played by a phony conglomerate and was conned out of $3000.00. Its been a good year because I still have my car to live in,… Read more »
tony damico
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tony damico

had 12,500 share’s of rad for 10yr’s I was counting my chicken’s. you know rest of the story.

get_smart
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I won’t be surprised if Amazon doesn’t buy $RAD NP at the time but keeping my eyes on current Amazon and Rite Aid news.

alfie0077
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alfie0077

Everyone says GE… GE Yes GE

davesgumshoe
Irregular
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davesgumshoe

I have followed CBI for the last few years thinking they should take off. Nothing about their financials ever impressed me. Stopped following them a few months back.
DD

rocketman
Irregular
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rocketman

I was seriously considering investing in CBI at the beginning of the year but didn’t have enough confidence in them to pull the trigger.

Marsha
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Marsha

Bpl and Etp. The mlp payouts are great, but then when you loose $1000s of your capital due to decreasing share price, it’s not worth it.

rainsonme
Irregular
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rainsonme

small point. Consider AMLP and IMLP as exchange traded notes; good distribution, diversified among the MLPs, and because its a “note” the taxes are much easier. No k-whatever forms. I still hold BLP, and will keep it as a long term prospect, but I wont put any new money into an individual MLP.

catherine
Irregular
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catherine

$AMLP (about 3% of portfolio now)
My accountant suggested I look at AMLP for those exact reasons, and the distribution is nice even as the stock price has dropped.

Caulker
Guest
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Caulker

The biggest disappointment I have had these past couple years is in Sauer Energy,
SENY, whose wind turbines just don’t seem to appear on the market. The stock is now down to under $. 01 with no hope in sight.

jvarner
Guest
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jvarner

Nordstrom’s. What was I thinking?

backoffice
Irregular
187
I had so many they are too long to list. Fortunately I’ve been able to pull off some impressive gains, and tried to look past the bad decisions but some that stick were Hillary Kramer and her guarantee of 3 doubles a month, I got zip. Another was massive gains from Pro Trader, which turned out to be penny stocks that would take off for a few trades and then collapse back to where they were. Then there was $TCS and the Offshore drilling company that had plenty of cash , the latest equipment and could weather the storm, Seadrill… Read more »
stephen wong
Guest
0

Followed info on tv for diabetic drug with high call option volume according to the Guru. Thank god I didn’t go heavy. Bought at $8.00 and news came out after market. I thought idt dropped to $7 but it was $1.00.Stuck with it–Novavax

lyndagrand
Guest
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lyndagrand

Happy Thanksgiving Travis. ( ‘-‘ )

traderj44
Irregular
16

I think the Turkey of The was sun Edison and and that terrible stock picker Ken moors he is just awful Happy Thanksgiving to all

get_smart
Guest
0

General Electric is down but by no means out. It’s screaming buy. And getting five hundred shares now would be a great multi bagger in ten years I bet.

sheeysong
Member
2
sheeysong

My only emotional pick — AMD, got me to keep it for 2018.
I believe in Lisa Su too much, don’t I? 🙂

get_smart
Guest
0
MERGERS AND ACQUISITIONS FINANCE BANKS INVESTING WALL STREET HEDGE FUNDS M&A INSURANCE VENTURE CAPITAL AMD shares surge on laptop chip deal with Intel to fight off Nvidia Intel and AMD will work together to launch a chip offering for thin and lightweight laptops that are capable of playing complex video games, the companies announced Monday. “Our collaboration with Intel expands the installed base for AMD Radeon GPUs and brings to market a differentiated solution for high-performance graphics,” said Scott Herkelman, vice president and general manager, AMD Radeon Technologies Group, in the press release. By Tae Kim | @firstadopter Published 7:47… Read more »
Matthew Handley
Guest
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Matthew Handley

Hi all in Gumshoedom,

Have a Happy Thanksgiving, and hopefully this year’s turkey isn’t masquerading as food on the table.

SoGiAm
Irregular
9630

Happy Thanksgiving to America from #FDA. Follow safe food handling practices, and of course, cook with lots of love. https://twitter.com/SGottliebFDA/status/933417930888445953

jplpbp
Irregular
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jplpbp

yep I own small positions in both of these

JOHN
Guest
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JOHN

Travis, do you think USAU is worth buying?

hendrixnuzzles
Irregular
7672

All of these would be great moneymakers if we had been SHORT !

catherine
Irregular
13
catherine

$AKG (Asanko Gold) has been my biggest turkey this year, which was such a favorite of Marin Katusa. He offered such great reports on it’s prospects, and it’s now down 79% from where I first bought it. In all fairness, I did not renew my subscription in July, so I don’t know if he has suggested selling.

thomas alley
Guest
0

bingo nation inc 3.oo to .10 cents lost a pile

get_smart
Guest
0

Turkey of decade is
Jim Rickards: Project Prophecy
jimrickardsprophecy.com
Is the Federal Reserve covering up a dangerous crisis that threatens to bring down, not just the United States, but the entire global economy!

David
Guest
0
David

How about Cobalt International Energy (NYSE:CIE). From a reverse split adjusted $18.30 and the end of 12/2016 to the current 39 cents.

Belated happy Thanksgiving to all.

Hugo
Irregular
171
Hugo

$CBI
Travis, many thanks for your interesting and timely articles, and I certainly agree CBI was a turkey, deserving the designation.
I also believe CBI has the potential to consolidate here and turnaround next year. They are developing the Allam Cycle technology and own 33% of Net Power.

Andy
Guest
0
Andy

You guys have made me absolutely $0 (zero dollars). But I can’t even count how much money you have saved me with the information you provide. I give thanks for you guys. – Andy

tonybocc
Irregular
5

Perseus mining for me ….

Gene
Guest
0
Gene

Another turkey?
AAOI by Cabot
TTD by Motly Fool.
STON (18% div) by someone

Christmas Gift:
TCEHY, Tencent has become a $500bil company. Bigger than Ali Baba! They own WECHAT, the Chinese Facebook. This has a lot of potential and should be considered for your portfolio.

Also PYPL. For now.

tlmason153
Irregular
2
tlmason153

I read a few news letters but none regularly…except Stock Gumshoe. I enjoy getting a more honest review of the pitches sent to me and I am sure you have saved me from a few real turkeys over the years. Thanks for all your insight and research.

teezer66
Member
1
teezer66

So does this make aqms a buying opportunity at this point?

Tackman
Guest
0
Tackman

Tcehy is up 28% since August for me but best one is OLED up 17% since November 2, belated happy thanksgiving

Alex Green
Guest
0

Throwing you a bone with (LULU). If you want to the technical & fundamental analysis we did on it let me know I will send it to you free of charge.

We are an equity research firm based in San Diego providing clients with stock suggestions and daily market analysis. If interested or have questions fee free to reach out.

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