Europe once again was the catalyst for the Dow's fall yesterday, as it's become all-but-guaranteed that Greece will leave the eurozone. Although it's hoped the exit will be an orderly affair, the probability it will turn messy is high, and then comes the possibility that Spain or Italy -- or both! -- will follow Greece out the door.
As the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell for the eighth time in nine days, some companies fell even harder, so first let's see whether they had good reason to drop. Sometimes, panic-fueled declines can make excellent buying opportunities.
Out on a limb
With consumer-finance advocate and Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren seeing her assertion to be 1/32 part Cherokee Indian fall apart after it turned out there was no factual basis for the claim, and with NBC cancelling the "Who Do You Think You Are?" TV show, the family tree of genealogy is looking a little stunted these days.
The stock of Ancestry.com (NAS: ACOM) , the popular site for finding your roots, was the victim of the network's decision to not renew the show for a fourth season, rather than the unfolding drama of the former, and it tumbled 13.7% on the news.
Because the channel used Ancestry's services to seek out the history of celebrities profiled on the program, it was essentially a long-running commercial for its service. Not surprisingly, the genealogy site was also a show sponsor.
Although the show boosted interest in the site, I think it was already limited in its appeal because of its focus solely on celebrity family histories. How much more interesting would it have been for Ancestry.com had they used some of its actual subscribers in the show who found fascinating branches in their personal histories rather than some Hollywood starlet's pedigree? That probably would have brought in more subscribers than researching Tinseltown's glitterati.
Yet Ancestry.com was already facing slowing subscriber growth before the show's cancelation, as well as higher costs to obtain new subscribers. Offsetting that, I believe, is its willingness to use DNA data from Illumina's (NAS: ILMN) database to make its results even more relevant to subscribers. Even so, I agree with CAPS member ceyhun28 who sees the fall as much ado about nothing and finds the prospects for growth through social-media pairings exciting: "The cancellation of the show undoubtedly will manifest itself in the next few quarters, but 2-5 yrs down the line, it might be irrelevant. There will be advertising via many different avenues, such as online advertising, there might be cooperation with social media such as Facebook."
Add the genealogist to your Watchlist, and then tell us on the Ancestry.com CAPS page or in the comments section below whether you think it will sprout new opportunities.
In search of a dent puller
As suspected, lithium-ion battery maker A123 Systems (NAS: AONE) continued its downward spiral after reporting earnings that showed revenues plummeting 40% amid an expensive recall that will see most of its production this year going to replace its defective batteries. Its first-quarter loss of $125 million ballooned as a result of the battery recall, which will cost it almost $69 million.
Privately held carmaker Fisker had cut back its orders of A123's batteries as demand for its electric cars was not as high as it had predicted. Then a much-publicized shutdown of a car while Consumer Reports was testing it did little to help the situation. Investors are hoping for an agreement with General Motors (NYS: GM) as well Navistar (NYS: NAV) , whose eStar electric vehicle I have more confidence in than GM's Spark. The former has been finding a lot of interest among businesses looking for an electric alternative.
That hasn't changed my position, though, since I think A123 will eventually go bust. Despite the client list, we see that product revenues amounted to just $7 million in the quarter, down 53% from last year, as product shipments fell to 10 megawatts per hour from 14.3 Mwh.
Before we get to that endpoint, we're going to see a lot of dilution in the meantime, as CAPS member nadanate points out. Just the other day it had a $50 million private offering of convertible notes and warrants.
Previously I rated A123 to underperform the market on CAPS, and I don't plan on changing that outlook, but flame me in the comments section below or express why on the A123 Systems CAPS page you don't agree that this cash-burning company will self-combust. Then add the stock to the Fool's free portfolio tracker to see whether it can power up yet.
Ready for a resurrection
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At the time thisarticle was published Fool contributorRich Dupreyholds no position in any company mentioned. Check out hisholdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Ancestry.com.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Illumina, Ancestry.com, and General Motors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days.
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