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The Worst Promoters of 2016

Awesome Penny Stocks' John Babikian and Eric Van Nyugen (courtesy of "The Fifth Estate")

The business of screwing the public by providing a voice for the penny stock fraudsters, consolidates down to a few while formerly prominent touts become also-rans.

January 1, 2017: Time for our annual look at the email promoters who accept graft to spread word of the schemes designed to pick the pockets of the gullible and other believers in fairy tales. I do not like penny stock scams and spam, I do not like them Sam I Am.

It was a year where several touts disappeared, many all but disappeared, and one disappeared then failed in a comeback under a new identity.

   » Related: The Worst Promoters of 2015

The dead

We lost a lot of promoters in 2016, presumably because (a) they either didn't have enough of a following to eek out a living after repeatedly exposing their subscribers to losing propositions (GS Media, Odd Marketing); (b) because their management was indicted (Stock Tips, The Pump Tracker); or, (c) the SEC systematically suspended tickers they promoted (Awesome Penny Stocks, Elite Penny Stock). Wave goodbye to these scumbags and while you're at it, bid a not-so-fond farewell to Blanca Solutions, Darth Trader, and Simply Best Investments.

   » Related: The Biggest Losers

Back from the grave...sort of

Things got bad in a hurry for 2014's worst promoter, Stock Mister. So bad in fact that Rafael Pereira (if that's his real name) went into the basement for a few months in early 2016, retooled, and returned as Pro Trader Elite.  Rafael's clients probably wish that he had stayed in his spider hole as his attempt to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear has predictably failed.  While he touts one ticker or another on a near daily basis, Pro Trader Elite barely generates enough dollar volume to add a muffin to a morning Cup of Jo. Where Stock Mister promotions generated $37 million in trades in 2014, then a relatively paltry $14 million in 2015, Rafeal's 2016 "picks" have traded a mere $7 million in combined volume.  Don't quit your night job, Rafeal.

   » Related: StockMister's Pump of BCHS Creates Millions In Losses

The dying

How the mighty have fallen.  Several former powerhouse promoters are seemingly gasping a few last gulps of air, as fewer and fewer pigeons are willing to feed on their crumbs. Why anybody would pay these also-rans for a tired subscriber list is a mystery to us. Include Freedom Ventures ($6 million in trading volume in 2016 vs $9.7 million in 2015), Market 365 ($3.3 million vs $14.2 million), and Stock Chat ($9.1 million v $18.6 million) on a possible death watch.

   » Related: Another Stock Promoter Busted By the SEC

Here we go.....

So what does worst mean?  Well what is worst for the public is likely best for the touts' clients, i.e. the dumpsters. Big losses for retail investors mean big stock sales for those hiring these touts and of course they care more about their ill-gotten booty than about traders' losses. But we're all about showing you why following these touts's picks are a bad idea, so without further adieu, we present you with our view of the best of the worst promoters of 2016. (Click on Past Performances button to review tout's pumps for the year)

#6 - Lions Gate Ventures


Theoretical Loss for Year: $5,936,042

Average Loss Per Daily Promotion: $74,200

Number of Promotions: 80

Total Trading Volume of Promoted Tickers: $53 million 

Average Daily Percentage of  Losing Trades: 63.5%

Percentage of Daily High Trade Occurring By 10:00am: 68.9%

Average Intra-Day Change in Share Price: +5.9%

Average Intra-Day Close From Day's High Trade: -17.4%

Days With More Losing Trades Than Winners: 68.8%

Comment:Although Lions Gate had by far the biggest theoretical loss for the year, much of it could be attributed to the February 2nd pump of HNSN, which on its own created a loss of $4,860,907 for that day's traders. We felt that it was unfair to award the title based on a one day anomaly. The tout generated six figure losses on six of its promotion days.

#5 - MJ Capital


Theoretical Loss for Year: $1,271,406

Average Loss Per Daily Promotion: $11,454

Number of Promotions: 111

Total Trading Volume of Promoted Tickers: $25.7 million 

Average Daily Percentage of  Losing Trades: 61.2%

Percentage of Daily High Trade Occurring By 10:00am: 82%

Average Intra-Day Change in Share Price: -2.7%

Average Intra-Day Close From Day's High Trade: -20.6%

Days With More Losing Trades Than Winners: 68.5%

Comment: Was perfectly happy to pump DIRV four occasions during the year in spite of the fact that shares dropped 99%during the course of the pumps and stuckholders were subjected to a one for 35 reverse split.

#4 - EGM Firm


Theoretical Loss for Year: $2,341,900

Average Loss Per Daily Promotion: $16,492

Number of Promotions: 142

Total Trading Volume of Promoted Tickers: $32.6 million 

Average Daily Percentage of  Losing Trades: 68.1%

Percentage of Daily High Trade Occurring By 10:00am: 89.4%

Average Intra-Day Change in Share Price: -12%

Average Intra-Day Close From Day's High Trade: -26%

Days With More Losing Trades Than Winners: 76.1%

Comment: Continued its 2015 pump efforts on GOGY throughout 2016 and praised the performance of the stock in spite of the fact that shares lost 91% of their value over a 15 month period. Maintained a love affair with AGHI, pumping the stock on six occasions during the year as it watched shares drop over 50%. April 18 promotion of SKLN cost traders $561K.

#3 - Stellar Media Group


Theoretical Loss for Year: $3,791,122

Average Loss Per Daily Promotion: $27,274

Number of Promotions: 139

Total Trading Volume of Promoted Tickers: $57.5 million 

Average Daily Percentage of  Losing Trades: 68%

Percentage of Daily High Trade Occurring By 10:00am: 77%

Average Intra-Day Change in Share Price: -9.8%

Average Intra-Day Close From Day's High Trade: -26%

Days With More Losing Trades Than Winners: 77.7%

Comment: The most consistent creator of losses on a day to day basis and seemingly the least concerned of the welfare of its subscriber base. Inexplicably exposed its subscriber base to VRSYF touting it on seven occasions from May to December, while almost all other touts stayed away, and thus making us wonder just how connected this tout was to the company. Shares dropped from $2.01 to $.035 over that period for a better than 98% loss. A recent 420% increase in the number of shares outstanding makes this tout's dedication to the ticker extra suspicious. Investigation by authorities would not come as a surprise. Generated six digit losses on eleven occasions during the year, but only one six digit gain. June 10th pump of ECEZ rewarded traders with $359K in losses, but this tout still had the nerve to push those shares on three occasions afterward, creating more big losses each time.

#2 - Small Cap Specialists


Theoretical Loss for Year: $1,968,737

Average Loss Per Daily Promotion: $37,860

Number of Promotions: 52

Total Trading Volume of Promoted Tickers: $103.6 million 

Average Daily Percentage of  Losing Trades: 54%

Percentage of Daily High Trade Occurring By 10:00am: 67.3%

Average Intra-Day Change in Share Price: 2.8%

Average Intra-Day Close From Day's High Trade: -11.7%

Days With More Losing Trades Than Winners: 67.3%

Comment: One of the newer kids on the block, tout came of age during 2016.  Generated almost twice as much total $ volume on much fewer promotions than the other touts. Of course this also created a much higher than average loss per promotion. Oversaw the destruction of stuckholders in TWER which this tout pumped five times during October and November--more than any other tout--and then lied about its role before abandoning the ticker. Shares have dropped from $1.31 to $.184 for an 86% loss over the last quarter of the year. Created six digit total losses for its subscribers on nine occasions during the year, while only generating six digit gains on three occasions.

#1 - MFG, LLC


Theoretical Loss for Year: $2,836,334

Average Loss Per Daily Promotion: $38,853

Number of Promotions: 73

Total Trading Volume of Promoted Tickers: $40.4 million 

Average Daily Percentage of  Losing Trades: 61.4%

Percentage of Daily High Trade Occurring By 10:00am: 74%

Average Intra-Day Change in Share Price: 13.7%

Average Intra-Day Close From Day's High Trade: -28.5%

Days With More Losing Trades Than Winners: 65.8%

Comment:  The new champ, this tout can consistently do more damage in one day than anybody else. Loves to bring back successfully pumped tickers on the next day with devastating results. Creates more six figure losing days than any other tout--17 in 2016, in spite of running half the number promotions that EGM and Stellar run--highlighted by a $563K loss when it pushed shares of IPRU on March 31st. Also produced most six digit gains during the year: four.