NEW YORK (
) -- From the Arab Spring and the Japanese earthquake and tsunami in the first half of the year to the escalating European debt crisis and the U.S. sovereign debt downgrade in the second half, there was plenty of macro-economic events that drove the stock prices lower in 2011.
We asked our
Facebook followers who they thought destroyed the most stock value in 2011. Most readers refused to stop at any one villain and plenty of them blamed Congress and politicians in general for this year's mess. Here's a sampling of some of their comments.
High frequency traders. Short sellers. Politicians and world leaders. Lazy Greeks. Freddie and Fannie. Frank and Dodd. Shall I continue?
The Greeks, Italians, Merkel, Sarkozy, and American politicians.
Still, a few Wall Street movers and shakers did succeed in hurting shareholders almost single-handedly with their misguided strategies.
Jon Corzine comes to mind for his outsized bet on European Sovereign debt that collapsed as investors lost confidence in the Euro zone and forced
into bankruptcy. There is also the small matter of the missing customer money of $1.2 billion. Corzine has said he does not know where the money is and that he never "intentionally" intended to authorize the transfer or misuse of customer funds.
CEO Reed Hastings took a series of wrong turns this year that sent shares plummeting from a high of $304 to the current $70 levels. Following the 60% price hike of its popular one DVD-by-mail and unlimited streaming service in September, Netflix lost 800,000 U.S. subscribers in the third quarter. The move angered customers because Netflix raised the prices for DVD customers when the real high costs actually come from its streaming service.
Hastings has already been named as the
worst tech CEO in 2011 by
readers in a recent poll.
Second in place though were the co- CEOs of
Research in Motion
Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis. Shares of the Blackberry-maker have plunged 77% in the past year after a string of dismal earnings reports, a half-baked launch for its PlayBook tablet, several product delays and a 3-day outage that caused some users to switch over to iPhone and Android devices.
CEO Mitch Gold, who was voted the Best Biotech CEO in 2010 by
readers, had a nightmare of a 2011. He mispriced Provenge, overestimated patient demand for the cancer immunotherapy and was wholly unprepared to deal effectively with the inevitable reimbursement concerns and questions that come with a new and novel therapy, TheStreet's Adam Feuerstein points out. 37% of the nearly 1900 voters thought he was the worst biotech CEO in 2011, with shares tanking 78% year-to-date.
Bank stocks were universally in the dumps in 2011. But
Bank of America
CEO Brian Moynihan took a lot of heat this year. A lot of problems that Bank of America is facing such as a weak economy and macro-economic uncertainty is not under Moynihan's control and he can hardly be blamed for the Countrywide disaster that he inherited from his predecessors.
But Moynihan has struggled to manage shareholder expectations. The bank underestimated its likely legal losses from its mortgage exposure, so much so that many analysts have given up trying to come up with an estimate. Moynihan has also talked from both sides of the mouth, constantly telling investors the bank does not need capital, yet continuing to raise money and dilute shareholders in an attempt to put market concerns to rest.
This is just the initial list. Vote on our poll and let us know what you think. Leave your comments on who else you think deserves to be on the list. You can also join the conversation on
--Written by Shanthi Bharatwaj in New York
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