There’s Only One Reason Why I’d Buy MSO

So what’s the deal with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. (NYSE/MSO)? My wife’s favorite role model is back at it, but the stock is going down. It just goes to show you that the stock market is all about anticipated performance. Buy on expectations, sell on news.

Of course, there really isn’t much news from MSO, only that Martha Stewart is back on television. Both my wife and I think very highly of Martha Stewart, but, despite all the hype, her company hasn’t been much of a wealth creator.

Yes, the stock blasted strongly higher from its low in late 2002 to a recent high of over $35 per share. There’s no question that was a great trade.

My wife believes in Martha Stewart as a business leader and role model for women, and she was absolutely right when she speculated that our family should have bought the stock when Martha went to jail. But, as an investment analyst, I want to see a company with a track record of wealth creation, and MSO is still trading well below its initial offering price on the New York Stock Exchange.

It’s kind of odd really. For most of us, we witnessed Martha’s company expand from magazines to television. Her branded merchandise is everywhere, and the company’s CEO is a media star. Yet, for all the publicity and accomplishment, as a business, MSO just keeps losing money for long-term stockholders. It really is tough to become a real wealth creating business.

Despite my view, my wife still wants to own MSO stock. She met Martha Stewart at a country fair, and, ever since then, she’s been starstruck. I think it would be fun to get my wife 100 shares of MSO in stock certificate form, frame it, and give it to her for Christmas. Other than that, I wouldn’t touch MSO with a ten-foot pole.