The economy has dominated the news in 2010, and for good reason. Everyone from Congress to the Fed, multi-national corporations to small businesses, have had some serious financial decisions to make. Not all of those decisions have been… shall we say…. wise. Here is my year-end list of “Ten favorite financial stupidities of 2010.”
10. In a year that saw Apple release the new iPad, the iPhone 4, and the new MacBook Air, not buying Apple in January was one of the year's biggest missteps. In January, their stock was at 190. On Dec 4, it closed at 320.
9. Despite overwhelming public opposition, the plan in Congress was to halt unemployment benefits right before Christmas. This would have affected an estimated 1.6 million people. The bill to extend benefits is currently being battled over in Washington.
8. Not getting in on the gold rush. The price of gold on Jan 1, 2010 was $1100/oz, and analysts predicted it would go to $1200 by year’s end. Fueled by unease over the value of paper money, investors turned in mass to gold. In early Dec, It was at $1417/oz.
7. In May, Eurozone members and the IMF agreed to a bail-out package to rescue Greece's embattled economy, at a cost of an estimated 45 billion Euros.
6. And in Ireland, a bailout package cost an additional 85 billion.
5. The story of LocatePLUS: On Dec 5, two former executives of a Beverly technology company were indicted on securities fraud and other charges. Prosecutors allege the former chief executive of LocatePLUS Holdings Corp., Jon Latorella, and its former CFO, James Fields, falsified documents to inflate the company's revenue and create a bogus $1 million pending windfall. The company provides online access to real estate and other public records for investigative searches. As part of their deception, authorities said, Latorella and Fields stole the identity of a young man who drowned in Marblehead Harbor 25 years ago to create a fictional executive whom they used in the scheme.
4. In the Citizens United v Federal Election Commission ruling, the United States Supreme Court decided that corporate funding of independent political broadcasts in candidate elections cannot be limited under the First Amendment. This ruling opened the door to piles of toxic, anonymous money pouring into our elections.
3. The Flash Crash of May 6, when the Dow dropped almost 1000 points, only to recover those losses within minutes. This was all due to algorithms and electronic trading gone wild. It was the second largest point swing, and the biggest one-day point decline on an intraday basis in Dow Jones Industrial Average history.
2. Bad paperwork from the banks that led to all foreclosures being halted in October, 2010.
1. BP Oil Spill. The cost was an estimated $45 billion dollars! You could almost bailout a small European country for that kind of money.
MORE BEST OF 2010
Sign-up for WGBH News updates, WGBH promotions, and previews of what's coming up on WGBH TV.