Any spectacle cheap enough to open with Cheap Trick probably won't push a stock price higher. In fact, when it comes to companies that enact an emotional hold on shareholders-like Apple (AAPL), Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) (BRK.B) and Wal-Mart (WMT)-and turn shareholder meetings into revival meetings, little of import or impact tends to come out of the events … unless you count Cheap Trick sharing the top billing with Aerosmith as noteworthy.
Against good reason, though, Wal-Mart ran in anticipation of its meeting, as if Ben Stiller, who opened a shareholder meeting a few years ago, might say Something About Money. Really: you have a better chance of Robert DeNiro accepting a male nurse as son-in-law.
Same lack of substance goes for Berkshire, where you might get to see a Fruit of the Loom guy dance a gavotte, but won't hear much, amid all the staged tumult, about actual business.
Meanwhile, out in Cupertino, Apple will get the obligatory questions about dividends and buybacks and whether the company should advertise on "Family Guy," but little in the way of tough impertinent and potentially illuminating questions like you might get at a good analyst meeting.
At Apple's last meeting a shareholder noted that speaking at the meeting was on his bucket list. He then went on to ask if he should return a recently purchased television. At Berkshire's meeting, billed as the Woodstock of Capitalism, Warren Buffett has been asked if he believes in God.
How about a little mud and nudity? Seriously, can someone wake me when these meetings are over?
Yet traders persistently treat these meetings like they offer the chance for path breaking revelations. That only sets traders up for losses. When the revelations don't come (unless you count John Q. Public's bucket list as newsworthy) the stock comes back down. Do yourself a favor next time. Sleep through the run-up to the annual meeting. Just make sure you wake up for Cheap Trick. They're still pretty good.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.