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Lululemon Athletica inc. (LULU), J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (JCP): This Week’s 5 Dumbest Stock Moves

Stupidity is contagious. It gets us all from time to time. Even respectable companies can catch it. As I do every week, let’s take a look at five dumb financial events this week that may make your head spin.

1. Sheer squad
Poor Lululemon Athletica inc. (NASDAQ:LULU) shoppers.

They paid a stiff ransom for a pair of black luon yoga pants, and now it turns out that the pants are practically see-through when they stretch.

Lululemon Athletica inc. (LULU)

Spoiler alert: People doing yoga stretch.

Even with Lululemon Athletica inc. (NASDAQ:LULU) faulting a supplier as it recalls all of the affected pants that it sold this month, it’s the high-end yoga retailer that looks bad here. Affluent shoppers with active lifestyles pay a premium to shop at Lululemon Athletica inc. (NASDAQ:LULU) to avoid quality issues, but the Canadian chain has had way too many recalls lately.

The thing is that Lululemon Athletica inc. (NASDAQ:LULU) can’t afford to mess up. It carries a stiff valuation, and now with more than 200 stores, it’s not as if it has limitless expansion. There are only so many markets that will put up with a place selling $100 yoga pants. The retailer is warning that comps will soften here as it waits to restock on black luon pants, but eventually the hard times may come simply because patrons have had enough.

2. Another Penney for your thoughts
J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP) keeps finding new ways to drag itself into this weekly column.

A Bloomberg report shed some unwelcome light on the fact that CEO Ron Johnson and nine executives are taxing shareholders through weekly commutes to the department store chain’s headquarters in Texas.

Yes, retail executives travel extensively in their jobs. They’re not always at the office. However, at a time when J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP)’s bottom line is obliterated by thinning stores, does J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP) really want to be abusing its corporate jets this way?

3. Bitter Harvest
It’s never a good sign when auditors bow out of a company, shaking their heads.

That’s what the bean counters at Harvest Natural Resources, Inc. (NYSE:HNR) have done, leaving the oil and gas company to delay the filing of its 2012 annual report.

There’s a “material weakness” in the company’s accounting. Harvest Natural Resources is coming across enough errors that it expects to possibly revise the past three years of financial statements.

Trust is a major part of any investing relationship, and right now Harvest Natural Resources just doesn’t have it.

4. EA: It’s in the blame
Things aren’t going well at Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:EA), and the CEO is taking the fall.

John Riccitiello will be moving on by the end of next week, resigning as CEO and stepping down from the boardroom.

“We have mutually agreed that this is the right time for a leadership transition,” the press release offers, but everyone knows that these decisions are rarely mutually agreed upon. Someone’s getting booted.

It’s an odd move given that shares of Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:EA) hit a fresh 52-week high just last week.

Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:EA)’s financial performance doesn’t match that 52-week stock chart, but it’s not just Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:EA) that’s struggling to grow in this environment. The entire video game industry is struggling at a time when die-hard gamers are waiting for new consoles to raise the stakes and mainstream gamers have moved on to cheaper and easier social and casual games.

Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:EA) has actually done more than its peers to embrace the social and casual games that have exploded in popularity at the expense of the console industry, which has suffered three brutal years of sharply declining sales.

A new CEO won’t change that.

5. Scholastic Corp (NASDAQ:SCHL) flunks out
Scholastic Corp (NASDAQ:SCHL) shares fell 14% yesterday after a dreary quarterly report.

The publisher of children books and educational materials posted a much wider loss than Wall Street was expecting on a 19% plunge in revenue.

It really shouldn’t come as a surprise that Scholastic Corp (NASDAQ:SCHL)’s in trouble during the seasonally sleepy fiscal third quarter. Just as Scholastic Corp (NASDAQ:SCHL) felt the pinch after the Harry Potter book series came to a close, it was up against the prior year’s success of the Hunger Games trilogy.

However, it’s more than just that. As schools and kids turn to tablets and e-readers, the demand for Scholastic’s page-turners is diminishing. Yes, Scholastic Corp (NASDAQ:SCHL) has digital initiatives on its own. It’s not stupid. It’s in the education business!

However, it will take a long time before digital revenue offsets the revenue generated from the business that it’s disrupting. Wall Street should’ve known better in assessing Scholastic’s actual state. It’s not stupid. It’s in the money-making business!

The article This Week’s 5 Dumbest Stock Moves originally appeared on

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Lululemon Athletica. The Motley Fool owns shares of Harvest Natural Resources.

Copyright © 1995 – 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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