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November 12th, 2007

3 Stocks That Missed the Mark

Next up: tiny-tech expert Altair Nanotechnologies (Nasdaq: ALTI). The company was supposed to deliver a $0.08 loss per share, but tacked on another red penny. One key customer reportedly delayed a $3.2 million order for Altair battery packs while waiting for the federal standards wheels to grind out a battery interface specification.

A year ago, Altair reported revenues of $750,000, and over half of that came from research grants and development contracts. This time, 84% of $3.4 million came from commercial sales of various kinds. Yet despite that improved credibility, Altair keeps burning cash at an alarming rate, and operations have been financed by the occasional secondary stock offering. In 2005, Altair raised $26 million in that dilutive manner, and it added another $23.8 million in 2006.

Despite all this, the company's total asset balance is hardly higher today than it was at the end of 2005. Can you say "value destroyer"? Nanotech fans might want to look at five-star Motley Fool CAPS stocks like Chinese chemicals manipulator Shengdatech instead, or Rule Breakers pick Harris & Harris (Nasdaq: TINY), for a broader coverage of the nanotech market.


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