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These Stocks Have Investors Cashing Out

Saturday - 3/23/2013, 9:30am  ET

The market can't decide whether it should focus on the Federal Reserve's pumping of cash into the U.S. economy or keep its eye on the unraveling of the European Union. Yesterday it was the latter, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 90 points as the financial components of the index -- Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase -- wobbled over fears that the EU crisis could widen.

The following three stocks faced a run of a different sort as investors turned tail, but don't go running over the cliff with them like a bunch of lemmings just yet: This could just be a temporary situation. Let's first see whether they had good reason to fall, as panic-fueled routs can sometimes lead to excellent buying opportunities.


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General Moly




MAKO Surgical


Arrested development
Nothing like having your business partner getting arrested to put a damper on things. Rare-earth minerals miner General Moly was looking to finance its Mount Hope project in Nevada by having Chinese conglomerate Sichuan Hanlong Group back its efforts and help it arrange for a loan from the government-owned China Development Bank.

Things were going swimmingly until Chinese authorities arrested the chairman of Sichuan Hanlong on suspicion of harboring a fugitive. Seems Liu Han's brother has been on the lam for years, wanted for questioning in a murder. Not much more information was forthcoming from the tight-lipped authorities, but with its backer in the hoosegow, General Moly had to suspend its efforts to secure the $665 million loan from the CDB.

I've cautioned investors for months now to avoid the miner because of serious doubts about its financial acumen. It's weighed down by a mountain of debt -- something the current loan it was pursuing wasn't about to alleviate -- and it's being pursued by SEC investigations. The stock is down 42% since I last weighed in on it, and I continue to recommend investors keep far away from the miner.

When consulting the oracles fails
Wall Street dumped on business software giant Oracle after it reported disappointing earnings that missed on several fronts, with new software licenses falling 2% (some analysts were looking for 7% growth!), hardware system sales down 23%, and hardware support revenue off 6%.

One analyst finds it "bizarre" that Oracle is unable to make even its own targets when it comes to system sales, noting that it has missed in seven out of the past eight quarters. Wall Street almost uniformly lowered its price targets on the software specialist as a result of the dismal performance, and though some analysts left their various ratings in place, more were cutting the recommendations from "outperform" to something less. 

Oracle blasted its sales team for its anemic effort, but some top Fool analysts think this is a temporary slump from which it will emerge. At 11 times earnings estimates, Oracle is priced around the same as IBM and Microsoft while offering a significant discount to SAP and Considering its still industry-leading position, that should make it an interesting pick for investors still.

Danger, Will Robinson!
When not even better-than-expected earnings results can keep MAKO Surgical's stock propped up, it shouldn't come as a surprise that positive results from a randomized controlled trial from the beaten-down device maker should send the stock tumbling too.

MAKO said a 10-year evaluation of the use of its RIO system for knee replacements not only increased accuracy but reduced pain, too. The purpose of the study was to compare the usage of the robotic arms in surgery against more conventional means, and the results suggest there are definite benefits through use of the RIO system. Of course, MAKO's stock fell 7%.

Shares have now lost three-quarters of their value from their 52-week high, a precipitous drop causes by skidding sales of its RIO system. The current study might not cause them to reverse course anytime soon, but it will be something MAKO can hang its hat on, at least.

Zero to hero?
Sitting near all-time lows, has MAKO Surgical's robotic-surgery growth story rusted over? To help investors answer this question, analyst and MAKO expert David Meier has written a premium research report covering all of the must-know details on the company, including key areas to watch and risks looming in the future for the medical robotics company. Claim your copy by clicking here now.

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