It's been a bear of a year for investors. But although events may have shaken our confidence at times, they also bring wisdom for the years ahead. So let's take a look back at 10 of the biggest investing headlines of the year, in all their bearish glory, and celebrate the lessons we've learned and the progress we've made in 2022.
Video game makers go full ‘command and conquer’ with acquisitions…
After watching us level up our gaming skills throughout the pandemic, big video game companies decided it was time to play Command and Conquer. A frenzy of takeover deals were announced setting in motion a record year for video game mergers and acquisitions (M&A).
Grand Theft Auto maker Take-Two Interactive (TTWO) announced a US$13 billion deal to gobble up mobile games maker Zynga, while Sony (SONY – ADR) pounced on game maker Bungie. But it was Microsoft (MSFT) that really said ‘game on!’, announcing plans to buy heavy-weight Activision Blizzard (ATVI) for US$69 billion, the biggest deal in gaming’s history!
..while Putin tries to command and conquer Ukraine
Lives and hearts were broken almost overnight when Russia invaded Ukraine. Russia was swiftly cut off from the world by sanctions, but that also meant the world was also cut off from a key supplier of oil and gas. Energy prices skyrocketed and we all started feeling pumped at the pumps. While Russian Oligarchs tried to hide their multi-million dollar yachts from seizure, one cruise ship - the Crystal Symphony - tried to hide from its multi-million dollar fuel bill.
Elon Musk finally gets his bird in the hand
Oh, Elon. As if running Tesla (TSLA) and SpaceX companies wasn’t enough, Elon Musk took his Twitter addiction to new heights when he agreed to buy all of Twitter for US$44 billion. After months of wondering ‘will he or won’t he go through with it?’, Musk finally stumped up the cash (and debt) to secure the bird in his hands.
Within weeks, Musk was giving off ‘horrible bosses’ vibes, firing half of Twitter’s staff and demanding those that were left to become ‘extremely hardcore’. So hardcore, in fact, that employees were sleeping on the floor.
It was a bear of a year
While the ink was drying on Musk’s Twitter deal, a bear market was clawing down share markets. Persistent inflation and rising interest rates sent the S&P 500 Vanguard ETF (VOO) tumbling more than 20% below its previous peak, meeting the definition of a bear market.
Things were even worse for spec-tech companies which had been partying hard just months earlier. With appetites for new initial public offerings (IPOs) low (and appetites for recession lentils questionable), companies thinking of listing began firmly saying ‘IP-nope’. The proceeds of IPOs on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) plunged 93% from the year prior.
From ‘Oracle’ to ‘Oil Baron’ of Omaha
Never one to let a bear market go to waste, Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A, BRK.B) Chair and CEO Warren Buffett took full advantage of plunging stock prices, scooping up US$66 billion worth of shares in the first nine months of 2022. Half of that was spent on energy companies as the Oil Baron of Omaha built up a 20% stake in Occidental Petroleum (OXY) and a slick investment in Chevron (CVX).
FTX collapse turns crypto winter into a crypto ice-age
After launching to the moon in the summer of 2021, crypto made a rapid descent back to earth and landed with a thud. Wobbles started to appear as interest rates began to rise, before the US$60 billion collapse of crypto currencies TerraUSD and sister currency Luna kicked off a bitter ‘crypto winter’.
The implosion of crypto exchange FTX months later turned that winter into an ice-age, with Bitcoin falling so much that according to Bank of America (BAC) it became one of the biggest asset crashes of all time.
The great post-covid reset
Travel was just the tonic we needed to shake off any pandemic blues and get back to living. But it came with some funny side effects, including soaring airfares, snaking security queues and thousands of flight cancellations as the industry struggled for people-power. It was enough to even send airfare prediction apps ‘haywire’!
The surge in travel helped Airbnb (ABNB) to achieve the company’s ‘most profitable quarter ever’ in September. But the same can’t be said for former work-from-home heroes Zoom (ZM), Peloton (PTON) and Teladoc (TDOC) which saw their share prices plunge from pandemic highs.
Liz Truss in… and then out… as UK PM
Remember Liz Truss? You might not! After succeeding Boris Johnson as the Prime Minister of the UK Truss lasted just 44 days in the job, becoming the shortest serving PM in UK history.
Just days in, Truss sent the UK economy into a tailspin after proposing tax cuts for the rich, sending the British pound plummeting. All while the UK was mourning the death of Queen Elizabeth and transitioning to their new monarch, King Charles III.
Celebs and influences got reined in
As the crypto story soured, so too did patience for celebs like Kim Kardashian, Floyd Mayweather and Steven Seagal who were paid big bucks to shill practically worthless crypto products. Other famous faces, including Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen who endorsed collapsed crypto trading company FTX, also learned the hard way that not all promotional work is created equal, especially when it comes to financial products.
It serves as a reminder to always be cautious when considering your investments and to do thorough research before entrusting your money to anyone, even well-known and trusted public figures.
Costco, the saviour we needed, launches in Aotearoa
Just as decades-high inflation and accusations of supermarket price gouging threatened to send the cost of living spiralling out of control, a wholesale saviour appeared on the West Auckland horizon; Aotearoa’s first Costco (COST) store. Kiwis embraced Costco like a long lost cuzzie, and eager Costco members soon helped to crown the new store one of the busiest in the world. And with around 847 warehouses around the world, that’s no mean feat!