NEW YORK (
) -- It's long been customary for partygoers on New Year's Eve to count down the seconds while watching the ceremonial ball drop in New York City's Times Square. Down here at the
Five Dumbest Lab
, we have a year-end ritual of our own: We count down the 10 biggest moments on Wall Street in which a CEO or company dropped the ball.
Before we start ticking down our favorite flubs from 2012, however, we want to wish all of our readers a happy and healthy 2013. Thanks for all your suggestions, tips and feedback. We hope to see you all in the New Year, but for your own sake, not on one of our dumbest lists.
Daily-deal site Groupon gave its shareholders a pretty raw deal in 2012. The company's stock lost two-thirds of its value and CEO Andrew Mason made frequent appearances on our weekly Dumbest list. Had Groupon investors seen this early warning from last January, they could have saved themselves a lot of headaches ... and money!
10. Groupon's Raw Deal -- published Jan. 6
Anybody looking for a deal on
(GRPN - Get Report)
shares could have had one this week when the stock got crushed. Then again, if this keeps up, savvy shoppers may want to wait until the savings get even bigger down the road.
Shares of the daily-deal site, which went public in November at $20, have been weak all week, closing down 5% at $17.88 on Thursday amid concern the company may not have as many offerings in the new year as merchants cut back on usage of the site.
According to a survey of 400 merchants conducted by Susquehanna Financial Group and deal-tracking site Yipit, more than half of those questioned are not planning to feature daily deals in the next six months. The poll also found that a quarter of the retailers intend to feature only one deal in the next six months.
Translation: It sure is hard being a one-trick pony when nobody wants to see your trick anymore.
On the bright side, the pollsters found that 80% of the merchants enjoy working with Groupon, LivingSocial and the other deal sites.
Translation: One-trick ponies are still cute; they're just useless.
Groupon and rival LivingSocial recently rolled out location-based instant deals that are usually run by merchants for a few hours only. Sadly, the survey by Susquehanna and Yipit found that only 10% of merchants polled have considered running these types of deals.
Maybe the real deal is that merchants are just tired of discounting their goods and they want to turn Groupon off for a while.
Those wacky Greeks brought us a boatload of gifts last year. Every time they rioted in the streets or kicked their fiscal can down the road, we got another dumb thing to write about. To which we say: Thanks, Greece! You certainly were the word.