Decade in Review
We laughed, we cried, we kissed another ten years goodbye. It is virtually impossible to cram ten years into one article, nonetheless I will attempt to chronicle some of the central and silly events that bubble up in my memory bank.
- Technology-heavy NASDAQ index peaks at 5,132 before completing its -78% decline by late 2002.
- Y2K (Year 2000) fears do not materialize and technology orders begin downward slide.
- AOL buys Time Warner for $164 Billion in hopes of converging media and internet worlds.
- Al Gore Democratic nominee for the Presidency wins popular vote but loses election to George Bush after effort for Florida recount fails.
- Elian Gonzalez, six-year old boy returned to Cuba.
- Reality TV show Survivor finishes first season with Richard Hatch winning prize.
- Apple introduces iPod digital music player.
- Enron files Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
- Wikipedia online community encyclopedia launches.
- 9/11 attacks occur pushing economy further down.
- Alan Greenspan starts 1st of 11 rate cuts in 2001.
- China joins WTO (World Trade Organization).
- Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), an atypical form of pneumonia, rears its ugly head in the Guangdong Province of China.
- SEC files charges against WorldCom and Tyco international in connection with accounting irregularities
- United Airlines files for bankruptcy.
- American Idol television singing contest begins first season.
- Guantanomo Bay detention camp is opened.
- Federal Funds rate reaches a 45 year low at 1.00% – fuel for future credit bubble.
- $350 billion in tax cuts approved, spanning a ten year period.
- Iraqi Gulf War II commences with “shock and awe” military campaign.
- Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrates upon attempted reentry into the Earth’s atmosphere.
- Broad stock market recovery (>90% of stocks in S&P500 climb), including a +50% rise in the NASDAQ index.
- Martha Stewart indicted for using privileged investment information and then obstructing a federal investigation.
- Arnold Schwarzenegger, movie star, becomes governor of California.
- Google (GOOG) goes public with IPO at $85 per share.
- Mark Zuckerberg unveils Facebook and people begin “friending” each other.
- Comcast makes failing unsolicited bid for Disney. K-Mart buys Sears with aid of Eddie Lampert
- Ronald Reagan, 40th President, dies at 93.
- Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake experience “wardrobe malfunction” on Super Bowl halftime show.
- Boston Red Sox win their first World series since 1918.
- P&G announces $57 billion acquisition of Gillette. Conoco Philips buys Burlington Resources for over $30 billion. Bank of America buys credit card company MBNA.
- Ben Bernanke is nominated as new Federal Reserve Chairman.
- Hurricane Katrina overwhelms New Orleans as 80% of city becomes covered with water.
- North Korea announces its nuclear weapons arsenal.
- YouTube starts sharing online videos before Google Inc. eventually buys company.
- Lance Armstrong wins 7th consecutive Tour de France.
- Inverted yield curve turns out to be an accurate leading indicator for 2008 recession despite markets advance.
- Internet activity accelerates: Google buys YouTube after News Corp buys MySpace. Twitter is introduced.
- Playstation 3 (PS3) and Nintendo Wii unveiled.
- Merger & acquisition activity reaches $3.79 trillion worldwide, surpassing previous 2000 peak (Thomson).
- Options backdating takes center stage. United Health and technology companies were among those dragged into controversy.
- Housing market peaks.
- Markets continue multi-year rally with three major indexes holding single-digit gains. Emerging markets build on previous year gains – Shanghai composite +97%.
- Monoline insurers MBIA and rival Ambac become early canaries in the coal mine given the greater than $1 trillion in exposure on insuring securities.
- Apple presents the iPhone – part phone, part music, part computer.
- KKR (Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.) and TPG complete $44.4 billion buyout of Texas power company TXU Corp.
- Microsoft Vista operating system introduced after five years of development.
- Housing decline accelerates as Countrywide Financial announces 12,000 job cuts (20% of its workforce), New Century Financial (#2 subprime lender at one point) files Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and two Bear Stearns mortgage based hedge funds go under.
- Chuck Prince, Citigroup CEO, steps down.
- Bank of America agrees to buy Countrywide mortgage company for about $4 billion.
- JPMorgan Chase agrees to buy Bear Stearns for $2 per share in a sale brokered by the Fed and the U.S. Treasury – eventually bid revised upwards to $10 per share (~$1.1 billion) to appease angry shareholders.
- Lehman Brothers goes bankrupt.
- Bank of America agrees to acquire Merrill Lynch for about $50 billion.
- Government takes over AIG after providing insurance company $85 billion loan.
- Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley become bank holding companies to improve access to capital.
- Washington Mutual Inc. is seized by FDIC and sold to JPMorgan Chase in the biggest U.S. bank failure in history.
- Wells Fargo & Co., agrees to purchase Wachovia for about $15.1 billion, trumping Citigroup’s bid.
- $700 billion TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) eventually approved by Congress to stabilize financial system.
- Eliot Spitzer resigns after prostitution scandal.
- Michael Phelps wins eight gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics.
- Barack Obama inaugurated in as 44th President of the United States. Healthcare reform bills pass in both the House and Senate.
- GM and Chrysler declare bankruptcy.
- Recession ends as stimulus kicks in and inventories rebuild. Government announces new PPIP and TALF programs.
- Warren Buffett pays $26 billion to buy Burlington Northern Santa Fe. Other announcements include: Oracle /Sun Microsystems; Pfizer/Wyeth; Merck/Schering Plough; and Pulte Homes/Centex.
- Commodities and emerging markets rebound. Gold tops $1,000 per ounce.
- Signs of housing bottoming as low mortgage rates, tax credits, and declining inventories create a more constructive environment.
- Madoff goes to prison after he was convicted for a $65 billion Ponzi Scheme.
- Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger successfully carries out the treacherous crash-landing of US Airways Flight 1549 into the Hudson River.
- Dubai debt debacle forces Abu Dhabi to lend support to calm global markets.
- Tiger Woods admits transgressions after car crash pushes him into spotlight.
Time will tell what the new year will bring. Stay tuned for some iron clad 2010 predictions coming to an Investing Caffeine blog near you in the not too distant future!
Wade W. Slome, CFA, CFP®
Plan. Invest. Prosper.
DISCLOSURE: Sidoxia Capital Management (SCM) and some of its clients own certain exchange traded funds and BAC, AAPL, and GOOG, but did not have any direct positions in the following stocks mentioned in this article at time of publication (including AOL/TWX, VIA/CBS, NWS, TYC, UAUA, MSO, CMCSA, DIS, SHLD, PG, COP, Nintendo, MBI, ABK, MSFT, C, JPM, AIG, MS, WFC, GM, Chrysler, BRKA, ORCL, JAVA, PFE, MRK, PHM, BNI, LCC, GLD, and NKE). No information accessed through the Investing Caffeine (IC) website constitutes investment, financial, legal, tax or other advice nor is to be relied on in making an investment or other decision. Please read disclosure language on IC “Contact” page.