The Untradeables: These Stocks Are Too Terrible to Buy, Hold, or Even Short

If you’ve been following my new service, Zenith Trading Circle, you know that I apply a series of four very specialized Stress Tests to uncover toxic stocks.

Right now we’re targeting a handful of the worst stocks in the world with trades designed to make money as these stocks inevitably collapse. (Subscribers, go here now to see how our trades are doing this week.)

But as I’ve sifted through all the garbage out in the equity markets, I’ve found several stocks that absolutely qualify as toxic, fail all my tests, but I cannot in good conscience recommend anyone put their money into trying to trade them.

Look, I’m convinced these stocks are going to fail, but for a variety of reasons, they don’t meet my trading criteria (for instance, the stocks have already dropped too far, the options are too illiquid, or there are no options available).

However, one thing that we can all do is get far, far away from them.

If you own any one of these three firebombs, drop it now and back away slowly.

Here’s why…

These Stocks Are Only Good Enough for The Trash Bin

First, my Stress Tests indicate that each one of these companies has about a 94.5% chance of bankruptcy in the near future.

Most of my tests are fairly self-explanatory, but for those who haven’t yet subscribed to Zenith Trading Circle, I wanted to give you a brief look at the Z-Score (a bankruptcy predictor tool developed by NYU Stern Finance Professor Edward Altman). It’s an equation that adds these calculations together to reach a final, low score of zero.

When a company’s Z-score = zero, that stock is in trouble, big-time. It can’t generate a profit, it makes very few sales, its assets are declining in value, it has poor liquidity, and it relies very heavily on debt.


Keep in mind that this is just the first indicator I use to determine whether a stock is toxic. Next, I check to see whether it has a dangerous Current Ratio below 1, a foolish Price to Sales Ratio (above 4) and a flatlining Net Income (less than 10% growth).

Now, here are the three “untradeable” stocks that I won’t recommend actually trading (not enough volume, low share price, no options, etc.) However, I do recommend that you dump them as quickly as humanly possible:

Kadmon Holdings (NYSE:KDMN) is a small-cap in the biopharmaceutical industry that went public at $12/share in July but has already fallen by half to around $6/share, and you only have to look at the numbers below to see that they don’t have much time left as a public entity, and that’s a good thing.


I won’t recommend trying to trade KDMN’s collapse, because the volume is too low, there are no options contracts available, and there’s a possibility of a buyout from a bigger player who wants their drug portfolio.

China BAK Battery (Nasdaq:CBAK) entered the market around 2001 as one of the first lithium battery producers and now makes electric vehicle batteries as well. Unfortunately the company’s financials are a disgrace.


Small wonder CBAK is down 97% from its all-time high 10 years ago (from $62/share to $2/share today). It doesn’t have much farther to fall, and it has very few options available, making it an unattractive trade. Instead, just make sure you don’t own it.

Abraxas Petroleum Corp. (Nasdaq:AXAS) is a small-cap energy company based in Texas with a 40-year history of buying, developing, and operating oil and gas properties in the U.S. It was hit hard by the energy sector downturn. Look at this mess.


At less than $2/share now, AXAS, likewise, is untradeable, and your only move is to get far away from it.

I hope you take this warning to heart.



9 Responses to “The Untradeables: These Stocks Are Too Terrible to Buy, Hold, or Even Short”

  1. Wow Michael! I am so grateful that either Agora found you or you proposed such a great newsletter! It seems quite fair that investors profit off of companies that have failed or are failing due to their inability to run their business in a profitable manner. I once owned a small percentage of a biopham company in a group of companies that were, in my opinion, otherwise going to do well.. Since the biopharm was a very small (<2) percentage, I saw it as lower risk. Not even a month after buying in I saw the police pulling the major owner/CEO into a squad car while hand-cuffed! The stock got as close to zero as it can get and still be traded on the exchange. I was about to forget about it when letter after letter arrived regarding the downhill slide of this Phama. One tiny slice of the pie now had taken on a life of its own. The lost money was small compared to the multiple responses and required to assess "damages". Some larger holder could potentially get a few dimes. I was finished with the company.
    I obtained by Doctorate in Pharmacy 40 years ago. What a shame that some rotten eggs can hurt the whole industry by association..

  2. Before joining Money Calander I knew vertually nothing about stock investments. Like most people I would blindly place an equities order than a friend advised to buy and sit around for months watching to see if I made a small profit. Most times I lost money. I have learned so much over the past number of months and just wanted to say “THANK YOU”.

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