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 β€” 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.

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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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tjboston
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tjboston

GE, anyone? πŸ™‚

jim cole
Guest
jim cole

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

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4194
Martin
Guest
Martin

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

sheldon
Irregular
πŸ‘236
sheldon

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

admdr5
Member
πŸ‘829
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 Β»

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get_smart
Guest

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

SoGiAm
Irregular
πŸ‘11466

$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! πŸ™‚ #Best2ALL! πŸ™‚ >>>>–Benjammin’————->

hedy1234
Irregular
πŸ‘1618
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
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.

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trope1
Member
πŸ‘-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.

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backoffice
Irregular
πŸ‘366

$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

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Larry
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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.

billharner
Irregular
πŸ‘43
billharner

so you reco at $ 2.00 and its now at .50 – down 75%
You come here to pump and dump I assume ?

SoGiAm
Irregular
πŸ‘11466

$ARTH vow – Turkey 2 Phoenix?
You decide…
Journey tickets available at
https://www.stockgumshoe.com/2018/02/biotech-discussion-continued/comment-page-5/#comment-4975854
#Caution: Extreme Opportunity Costs thus far!
#Best2ALL!

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sjdunham
Member
πŸ‘60
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.

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Fabian
Guest
Fabian

And happy Thanksgiving and thanks for all these interesting articles.

Ed
Irregular
πŸ‘17
Ed

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

Cmint
Guest
Cmint

SunEdisonβ€”-bankruptcy! Pfffft! Gobble gobble

Richard Whisler
Guest
Richard Whisler

Happy Thanksgiving,
Should we Buy USAU now?

braisin-raisin
Member
πŸ‘52
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
Guest
sandy_shore

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

mishu64
Irregular
πŸ‘3
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.

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captjack68
Irregular
πŸ‘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
Guest
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
πŸ‘49

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
Guest
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

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.

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mishu64
Irregular
πŸ‘3
mishu64

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

Robo
Guest
Robo

GGI Lucky to have missed the pump and dump!

Reptile
Guest
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 Β»

tony damico
Guest
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
Guest

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.

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alfie0077
Guest
alfie0077

Everyone says GE… GE Yes GE

davesgumshoe
Irregular
πŸ‘2
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