Tracking the TiVo Yo-Yo
By Adam Lashinsky

(FORTUNE Magazine) –

You've got to hand it to tiny TiVo. Its annual revenues are only $170 million, and it consistently loses money, but such is Wall Street's fascination with the pioneer of the digital video recorder that any morsel of good news drives up its stock price--even if the gains rarely stick. Consider:

•Sept. 7, 2004: The stock jumps 15%, to $5.08, on speculation that TiVo will sign a deal with Netflix to download movies over the Internet. The companies formally announce a partnership three weeks later. A year later, with the stock below $5 again, Netflix says it is indefinitely postponing the deal because it can't sign up movie studios.

•Feb. 23, 2005: The stock leaps 18%, to $4.38, on never-confirmed talk that Apple will buy TiVo. The gains fade in about three weeks.

•March 15, 2005: The stock soars 75%, to $6.70, when TiVo announces a deal to supply technology to cable operator Comcast in 2006. The stock begins falling immediately, though it rallies later in the summer.

•Nov. 7, 2005: The stock, down considerably since the Comcast news, spikes 4%, to $5.30, on news of a deal with Yahoo to allow TiVo users to program their DVRs from Yahoo's website. The stock gives up its entire gain--and more--in the next two days.