NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- If Americans across the land can spend hours if not days discussing a subject as mindless as whether Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg deserved Time's Person of the Year, it's high time for a healthy round of debate over the biggest market villain in 2010. Time it should also be noted, has never shied away from selecting villains as the most important annual person.

The market optimist may now be turning his attention to the outlook for 2011, and the new year's first week of trading got off to a bullish start on Monday morning. However, there's value in a quick look back at the best (or worst) of the nefarious candidates for biggest market villain of 2010, before consigning these characters to history. The fact of the matter is that many of the biggest market villains in 2010 may rear their ugly heads again in 2011; a line-up of the usual suspects provides a de facto outlook on potential masterminds of market mayhem in 2011.

Granted, 2010 wasn't a bad year at all for the markets, with the S&P 500 closing the year up close to 13% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average not far off that pace. The unemployment rate remains way too high and the housing market enters the next year as it exits 2010 -- a mess. All in all, though, after record corporate profits in the third quarter and a bevy of improving fundamental economic indicators toward year-end -- losing days for the market in December were few, if not far between -- things are looking moderately OK for the U.S. economy.

It doesn't mean the usual cast of characters didn't do what they do best in 2010 -- rile the markets and try to throw a wrench into the economic recovery plans:

Environmental disasters!

Ghouls of the financial meltdown still haunting the U.S. road back from recession!

"Sh**ty deals!"

Meddling politicians who just won't get off the back of well-meaning capitalists!

Mindless machines and algorithms that edge us closer every day to a financial world which not even Arthur C. Clarke might have imagined!

Entire continents on the verge of slipping off the economic-tectonic plate that supports them!

That's right, 2010 has been a year of market chicanery, market idiocy, market manipulation and market implosions that are all worthy of being given their due as the opportunity for making a muddle of the markets, at least for one calendar year, ends. So step right up and place your vote for the Biggest Market Villain of 2010.

And the nominees -- and potential thorn in the side of the markets again in 2011 -- are...

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