This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

Financial Figures We Loved and Hated in 2013

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- 2013 was a banner year for news, on Wall Street and around the world. The Dow and the S&P set record after record, reaching all-time highs even as the fiscal chaos of Washington's budgetary battles led to sequestration cuts and a government shutdown. Silicon Valley as well as the capital was rocked by revelations of blanket surveillance, and details began to emerge of massive rate rigging schemes by the world's most powerful banks. What follows is a review of the heroes and villains who drove this year's headlines to such euphoric heights and such miserable lows (with apologies to devotees of the fiasco, surely the product of some villainous back-end work but too ongoing for a retrospective rehash).

The Fourth Estate Strikes Back

It's been a rough century so far for journalism, but in 2013 three U.S. reporters - two expatriates (Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras) and a freelancer (Barton Gellman) - showed that the press is capable of breaking enormous stories of urgent public interest. Their reporting, based on NSA documents leaked by Edward Snowden, challenged governments and major corporations, and caught the eye of billionaire Pierre Omidyar: the founder and chairman of eBay is funding a new media venture led by Greenwald and Poitras, having pledged at least as much money as it would have cost him to purchase The Washington Post (bought by Amazon's Jeff Bezos in August for $250 million).

Snowden Saves Silicon Valley from the NSA, and Itself

Last century, Eisenhower warned of the military-industrial complex, a nexus of public and private power whose interests and aims might not accord with what he saw as "our basic purposes": "to keep the peace; to foster progress in human achievement, and to enhance liberty, dignity and integrity among people and among nations." This year the world got some idea of the scope and scale of a new hybrid monster imperiling those same goals - the intelligence-tech complex - and Silicon Valley, both victim and accomplice of the NSA, has Edward Snowden to thank for the chance that reform might come before dragnet-style surveillance, deeply unpopular with potential customers around the world, becomes entrenched in U.S. telecom systems.

The Anti-Larry Summers

In October, a woman got the nod to serve as the world's most powerful economist, and all it took was perennial White House favorite Lawrence Summers' decision to withdraw from consideration. In announcing Janet Yellen's nomination to succeed Ben Bernanke as Fed chair, Barack Obama said, "She had sounded the alarm bell early about the housing market bubble and excesses in the financial markets before the recession." That's a bit hyperbolic. In 2005 Yellen predicted that the home price bubble would register as "a good-sized bump in the road" but suggested "the economy would likely be able to absorb the shock." By her own account, she "did not see and did not appreciate what the risks were with securitization, the credit ratings agencies, the shadow banking system, the S.I.V.'s - I didn't see any of that coming until it happened." Still, Yellen's candor contrasts favorably with the unapologetic style of a certain other veteran policymaker, and her focus on the labor market, in lieu of Summers's financial sector commitments, holds some promise for those concerned with income inequality and the real economy. 

1 of 3

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
AAPL $92.75 -0.53%
FB $119.21 1.20%
GOOG $710.07 1.20%
TSLA $215.07 1.70%
YHOO $37.27 0.89%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,727.66 +66.95 0.38%
S&P 500 2,057.46 +6.83 0.33%
NASDAQ 4,733.1610 +16.0670 0.34%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs