2009: One Long, Baffling Spit-Take

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Let's face it -- 2009 was an extremely bizarre year on the investing landscape. More than once, reality itself seemed to become a major competitor to satirical Web site The Onion.

Let's ponder some of the high strangeness that marked 2009:

  • Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC  ) sued itself.
  • Investors enthusiastically traded shares of bankrupt and defunct companies like Lehman Brothers and "old GM," apparently unable to understand the actual meanings of the words "bankrupt" or "defunct." (Look 'em up!)
  • Fearing mobs of angry taxpayers, several Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS  ) executives supposedly loaded up on the likes of Smith & Wesson (Nasdaq: SWHC  ) . Not the stock, mind you -- actual firearms.
  • Speaking of Goldman, what was that comment about doing "God's work"? Egotistical much, guys?
  • Executives at firms that would have failed without government intervention whined about pay restrictions. Yes, we're looking at you, AIG (NYSE: AIG  ) .
  • Piles of public money poured into the seemingly bottomless pits of corporate America. As we speak, GMAC is triple-dipping into Uncle Sam's pocket, to the tune of $3.8 billion.
  • And how about Fannie Mae (NYSE: FNM  ) and Freddie Mac (NYSE: FRE  ) going all Oliver Twisted? Far from impoverished orphans, these two have become something more shameful.
  • Even I got pretty paranoid for a while. I'm still not convinced my fears were unfounded, and given continued serious issues like our nation's debt and deficit, I still wonder whether another shoe will drop. For now, though, I'm grateful we didn't have to go all Mad Max. Things were plenty weird enough, and I don’t have my post-apocalyptic wardrobe ready yet.
  • And lastly, droves of Sirius XM (Nasdaq: SIRI  ) shareholders completely freaked at any whiff of negative opinion on their stock. Oh, wait -- that's not unusual at all.

At some point, things get so strange that you start to tune them out. I'm pretty sure my recollections have left out some really primo moments, so I'm turning this over to you. Share your strangest moments of 2009 in the comments box below. And here's hoping for a lot less weirdness in 2010! Happy New Year, Fools.

Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days. The Fool's disclosure policy is a big fan of Smoove B.

Read/Post Comments (17) | Recommend This Article (11)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On December 31, 2009, at 3:06 PM, cnight80 wrote:

    My strangest moment of 2009 was when SIRI blew away the Motley Fool "experts" with their past quarter's earnings and subscriber growth, thus causing the MF experts to apologize for all their non-stop SIRI bashing and admit that they were wrong about SIRI all-together; MF admitting they were way off w/ their analysis on SIRI was as strange and shocking as it gets. But the MF still hasn't learned its lesson after reading this: "droves of Sirius XM shareholders completely freaked at any whiff of negative opinion on their stock. Oh, wait -- that's not unusual at all." Maybe many SIRI stockholders wouldn't freak out so much if the MF didn't write 4 negative articles per day about SIRI, in order to take the focus off the MF always being wrong about siri... but nice try Alyce... I'm long on SIRI.

  • Report this Comment On December 31, 2009, at 3:11 PM, Fool wrote:

    Hey what's mf???????

  • Report this Comment On December 31, 2009, at 3:14 PM, cnight80 wrote:

    One last thing Alyce, you said the SIRI sharholders freaked out "at any whiff of negative opinion on their stock," but I think you meant to say that SIRI sharholders freaked out every time a 20 ft title wave from the toxic Gulf of Motley Fool wiped out all logic with non-stop negative articles, that sounds more accurate. I honestly love this site for a lot of different reasons, but the siri bashing is really annoying.

  • Report this Comment On December 31, 2009, at 3:14 PM, cnight80 wrote:

    MF =Motley Fool

  • Report this Comment On December 31, 2009, at 3:20 PM, esteemxxxx wrote:

    It's really true. You guys sneak any opportunity you can to mention SIRIUS XM in any topic. It's seems like the only way you can drive hits onto your website is by mentioning SIRI on an article no matter if its relative or not.

  • Report this Comment On December 31, 2009, at 3:35 PM, cnight80 wrote:

    YOU NAILED IT ESTEEMXXXX!!! And if SIRI goes over $1/ share in 2010, the Motley Fool will still find new ways to put this stock down and come up with creative fear tactics to make people believe SIRI is not growing.....but we both know this stock is growing now, during these tough economic times, and siri will continue to grow even more when the economy picks up.

  • Report this Comment On December 31, 2009, at 3:54 PM, T2much wrote:

    While entertaining, I doubt the market pays much attention to the MFs at MF, anyway. Go SIRI!

    P.S. MF stands for Motley Fool.

  • Report this Comment On December 31, 2009, at 4:39 PM, plange01 wrote:

    2009 ends in a loss as it started.since march stocks rose on bad news and went in the opposite direction of the economy.expect 2010 for reality to quickly set in as the US enters its second year in a depression and moves toward a major collapse....

  • Report this Comment On December 31, 2009, at 5:26 PM, Fool wrote:

    And lastly, droves of Sirius XM (Nasdaq: SIRI) shareholders completely freaked at any whiff of negative opinion on their stock. Oh, wait -- that's not unusual at all.


    Why would that be unusual? it's in response to your USUAL irresponsible coverage of SIRI/XM in order to allow your heggie buddies to accumulate from the low PPS that your hack journalism tries to provide while you beg for clicks to your site.

  • Report this Comment On December 31, 2009, at 6:27 PM, Fool wrote:

    I being a seasoned trader for YEARS CANNOT believe all the articles written about Sirius! This is a 60 cent stock and gets ALOT of attention by these little kids who write articles over on motlie fool! There is a reason for it........Hey motlie fool authors if ya need some advice on how to write an aritcle, please feel free to ask for my input! ILL be happy to assist ya.

    All the best to ya cause your gonna need it.......

  • Report this Comment On January 01, 2010, at 3:40 PM, TairyHesticles wrote:

    Why don't you fools embrace the fact that this product has FANATICAL fans, and die-hard loyalists like no other product before. This should speak volumes for the critical onslaught of SIRI bashing. Why not write articles on how the fans of SATRAD wont let this thing die, or come to its defense whenever bashed? Why doesn't Clear Channel have fans like this? This company is getting to its feet, and will produce a profitable 4th Q, and an entire profitable 2010 when you look at the debt due for that year. 2011 is the real challenge. That debt needs to be refinanced, and pushed back. Fools, embrace the fans for a change. We know this company is at risk for total loss, but where there is great risk there is also leverage for great reward.

  • Report this Comment On January 01, 2010, at 8:29 PM, Fredlee009 wrote:

    Arent you the now famous author on message boards and forums everywhere (thanks to me) of the now famous" Be Afraid of Penny Stock Profits" article? yes, thats right you are. In that article you warned of penny stock profits. I will end that there. I think anyone reading this can find the irony in the article I did as well, and are now laughing hysterical at the concept. Here just in case your slow...

    Ill insert other words...

    "Be Afraid of Oil Stock Profits"

    "Be Afraid of Low Cap Profits"

    Be Afraid of Mid Cap Profits...

    The point is Alyce, people arent afraid of profits. They are not something to run from, but enjoy whereever you can obtain them. As sirius xm is not a typical penny stock (undervalued 2.5 billion market cap right now), which will dwarf any company trading under $1 right now), and growth and profits coming in Q4.

    Sirius XM stockholders dont allow lies to be told about the company in the media, so I wouldnt exactly call that unreasonable. I can right a 300 page book on the lies, half truths, and bad opinions(now proven wrong) from 2009. So Ill retranslate your comment for you.

    Sirius stockholders REFUSE too allow their stock to be trashed and beaten down in the media by lies and misconceptions, yes, correct. Deal with it. You and all your cronies.

  • Report this Comment On January 01, 2010, at 8:31 PM, teentradeproject wrote:

    Wow you guys are lame...

    SIRI was a mainstream investment trading above five dollars. Now, even if it is leveling off and/or has always been a strong long term investment, it's a joke. Wall Street fools who invest "Strong, Safe, and Secure stocks" that will look good on their quarterly report have been left with a penny stock. And I can guarentee you they aren't going to wait for Sirius's "Recovery" thanks to managers breathing down their necks. That leaves we Fools, especially the Motley ones, to step back and laugh.

    Let good writers have their fun.

    SIRI-not a good investment for a stock investor. However, a great investment for a business investor.

    P.S. Maybe you'd have enjoyed this article a little more if you understood the references. I'd start by Googling Oliver Twist.

  • Report this Comment On January 02, 2010, at 8:39 PM, tkell31 wrote:

    Lol, I guess the fact SIRI was once selling for $60 means it's current bounce back from a nickle is a tremendous success story. From 60 to .60...a 99% loss. Congrats if you bought in at a nickle or a dime for a meaningful position, but the stock is an unmitigated disaster. All hail SIRI king of the sub $1 stocks! Then again the coming reverse split will get it back into the teens and everyone can be happy.

    The fact the article doesnt even address SIRI's performance helps illustrate the point that siri drones rise up in mass to defend even the mere mention of it's name.

  • Report this Comment On January 02, 2010, at 10:04 PM, MOTLYIS0VALUE wrote:


  • Report this Comment On January 03, 2010, at 4:45 PM, HOGridin wrote:

    Coming to terms with reality, Harley-Davidson admitting its main customer base is aging, riding to eat and in so doing, riding less - so they are searching for products that appeal to youth buyers yet they cancel the Buell division. This is some $140-mln in write-offs, maybe more. They do this just after Buell in 2009 wins the first American built AMA Sport bike road natioinal championship since Cal Rayborn in the 1970s.

  • Report this Comment On January 04, 2010, at 3:05 PM, PhulishMortal wrote:

    Just had to do it, didn't you, Alyce? ;-)

    Oh, and this article will probably be in the running for "Best Headline of the Year." I'm sure there will be plenty of competition, though. Here's looking forward to another year of TMF!


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