The stock market is unpredictable. In good times we'll see a steady uptick of quarterly gains, dividends, and rising futures. The market is humming. Money is making money. Then, suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, whether influenced by current events or glitches in valuation, the stocks come crashing down to a halt.
Keen financiers will have done their due diligence and can accurately predict these economic downturns. But the less-savvy have made some serious blunders over the years, and we've compiled a list of 30 stock market fails that make your corner lotto store purchase look like a good buy.
Scroll through these stock market fails and see the worst trades of all time. You might just protect your portfolio for the future!
UBER's flailing IPO
via: ShutterstockUBER hoped to capitalize on its $120 million valuation before going public, but that dream quickly evaporated after a dismal opening that saw the ride-share company only hit $65 million nine months later.
Ron Wayne selling 10% of his Apple stock for $800
via: ShutterstockIn 1976, Ron dumped his 10% stake in the company after concern about Steve Jobs' reckless spending. 50 years later, Ron is drawing on Social Security instead of a nest egg that could be worth over $40 billion.
Snapchat's value disappears just like the snaps it sells
via: ShutterstockSnapchat hit the stock market in early 2017, and by March it had already lost 27% of its value. Despite rallies over time, the Snapchat has never approached the highs of its first day on the market.
Metallgesellschaft AG loses $1.3 billion
via: ShutterstockThis German oil company speculated on oil futures back in 1993 and lost big time. The firm took a hit to the tune of $1.3 billion dollars. We knew oil was dirty...but never this bad.
London Whale loses $2 billion
via: ShutterstockJP Morgan associate Bruno Iksil disclosed $2 billion in losses for the financial firm after royalty screwing up some credit default swaps. This fail received and continues to receive attention from the FBI and SEC.
Time Warner bets big on AOL...and loses even bigger
via: ShutterstockIn 2001, cable conglomerate Time Warner paid $164 billion to buy new-kid-on-the-block AOL. By 2002, in the wake of the dot-com burst, AOL's value plummeted 20 billion. Yikes!
Orange County Tax Collector gets sunburnt with bad interest bets.
via: ShutterstockIn 1994, OC Treasure Robert Citron gambled away $1.7 billion of his county's money by using borrowed funds to bet against the interest rate. When rates rose instead of fell, Citron's braindead-bargain forced the county in bankruptcy.
Wells Fargo loses $30 billion of its own stock price
via: ShutterstockAfter the infamous bank admitted to creating over 3.5 million fake accounts for customers, the fed put a tight leash on the banking giant, causing its stock price to lose $29.8 billion in a single trading day.
Trump calls out Amazon on Twitter
via: ShutterstockWhen Trump called out Amazon and Jeff Bezos on Twitter, claiming the USPS was losing money on Amazon deliveries, the online-delivery giant lost $38 billion in one day. Talk about prime delivery!
Rogue Trader loses $2 billion for UBS
via: ShutterstockIn 2011, rogue UBS trader Kweku Adoboli gambled away $2 billion of the firm's money. In the aftermath, the banks CEO was forced to resign. Abodoli pleaded not guilty to multiple counts of fraud and false accounting.
Eucalyptus company loses big on its country's own currency
via: ShutterstockAracruz, one of the world's largest producers of bleached eucalyptus pulp, bet that Brazil's currency would appreciate against a weak US dollar. Reality took a different position, and the firm lost $2 billion.
Bank of America loses $38.5 billion in early days of recession
via: ShutterstockIn the height of the 2008 financial crisis, Bank of America announced earnings were down 65% from the previous year. The venerable institution's stock quickly plummeted - and lost the bank $38.5 billion in a day.
Another 2008 BoA fumble
via: ShutterstockBoA's initial losses notwithstanding, the troubled financial institution also bought Countrywide Savings, a sub-prime mortgage lender whose CEO embezzled millions. Bank of America ended up paying over $40 billion in fines and settlements after all was said and done.
Sumitomo Corporation loses $2.6 billion on copper futures
via: ShutterstockYasuo Hamakana, sometimes called "Mr. Five Percent," lost $2.6 billion from unauthorized copper trades on the London Metal Exchange. He was sentenced to 8 years in prison...behind copper bars.
Long-Term Capital Management loses $4.6 billionIn 1998, this Greenwich, CT based financial firm had $4.6 billion leveraged on Russian bonds. When Moscow defaulted, the hedge fund lost all of that cash within four months.
Amaranth Advisors runs out of gas
via: ShutterstockAmaranth Advisors had over $6 billion tied up in Natural Gas futures in 2006. The future turned out to be a lot grimmer than expected, and the hedge fund is now defunct.
Lehman Brothers dives in the derivatives market
via: ShutterstockLehman Brothers entered an already-risky market with a riskier strategy: 100% debt leverage. When Lehman's securities dropped more than 1%, the institution had to close its doors and lay off over 10,000 employees.
Manhasset Indians sell Manhattan for 60 guilders
via: ShutterstockOf all the bad trades in all of American history, this origin trade to Dutch Merchants was great for the visitors, but terrible for the natives. What's the appreciation on 60 guilders in today's dollars?
Google falls short of analyst's forecasts
via: ShutterstockIn 2018, Alphabet spilled $41.1 billion into the gutter when Google's earnings were shy of the estimates. The stock dropped 5.3%, but has since recovered.
GE drops 6%, and the lights dim
via: ShutterstockGeneral Electric lost almost $50 billion after the financial meltdown kept pummeling the company's earnings. Over 10 years later, GE's stock still hasn't recovered, and has been dipping since 2017.
Societe Generale flushes away $7.2 billion
via: ShutterstockJerome Kerviel lost $7.2 billion for Societe Generale, a French financial firm. The dude was sentenced to prison for unauthorized derivatives trades. Sacre bleu!
Morgan Stanley loses $9 billion on credit default swaps
via: ShutterstockFeatured in the movie "The Big Short," this unmitigated disaster was a big domino that fell during the 2008 financial crisis, leaving a ripple that trickled down to the shuttered former homeowner packing up the moving van.
Exxon Mobil hits an oil slick to the tune of $52.5 billion
via: ShutterstockExxon, at the time the world's largest company, lost a significant amount of stock value as fears of a recession depressed crude oil prices. This Dow Jones oil spill hit the gas gobbler right in the kisser.
Microsoft loses $80 billion big ones
via: ShutterstockAfter a federal judge ruled Microsoft was nearing a monopoly with its flagship product Windows, the computer champ lost $80 billion, including a whopping $11 billion for founder Bill Gates.
United Airline's stock drops from $90 to $30
via: ShutterstockAfter the WHO designated COVID-19 a global pandemic, demand for air travel hit an all-time low. United Airlines stock lost over 50% of its value, wiping out billions. Time will tell if the stock will ever fly at 30,000 feet again.
London trader stashes away $1.3 billion in losses
via: ShutterstockIn 1994, trader Nick Leeson worked at a bank where Queen Elizabeth even kept some money - that is, until the bank went under after the rogue trader hid over a billion dollars in losses in an unused error account.
Intel loses its top spot on the totem pole to the tune of $90 billion
via: ShutterstockThe dot-com bubble burst annihilated Intel, and the computer-chip company has never fully recovered. The company warned in 2000 that demand was slowing, and the stock price dropped 22%.
Facebook's ad machine disappoints 2018 investors.
via: ShutterstockZuckerberg lost himself $15 billion after analysts found that Facebook's pivot to video had not produced the kind of earning's its advertising prices promised. Are the best days of the social media mainstay behind it? Share this article to find out!
Carnival Cruise runs aground and loses billion$$$
via: ShutterstockCOVID-19 has changed the financial landscape for at least the next few years, and none will feel the sting as bad as cruise lines. Carnival Cruise saw its stock drop from a high of $50 a share to now at $8. A bottomless buffet can't save this sinking ship.
Boeing's troubles go from bad to worse
via: ShutterstockOnce the world's leading aerospace giant, issues with faulty planes and shady safety protocols caused the company's stock price to lose billions. Then when COVID-19 suffocated air travel demand, the company sank further into the financial quicksand. Will they get thrown a rope this time around?