The Week's Top Stories is a guided tour through the biggest market stories of the week, from winning stocks to brutal dips to the facts and forecasts generating buzz on Wall Street.
WALL STREET WOES
Stocks fell on Friday, the last trading day of 2022, wrapping up the worst year on Wall Street since 2008. Several big-name stocks were among those battered by the bear market, but perhaps none more spectacularly than Tesla. Losses for the year were 69 percent, with a 2.6 percent drop this week. Shares are now valued at $123, compared to a peak of nearly $410 per share back in November 2021. Adding to the pain, Tesla just dropped out of the list of top 10 companies by market capitalization. Beyond investors' overall bearish mood, the automaker is facing its own industry and company-specific headwinds. Reuters reported on Tuesday that Tesla's Shanghai plant is planning to reduce its output in January around the Lunar New Year. The report did not specify why Tesla is pulling back, but EV makers broadly are bracing themselves for challenges in 2023, as demand is expected to fall globally. In addition, CEO Elon Musk's preoccupation with Twitter is also widely considered a drag on the stock.
Another high-profile loser in 2022 was Apple. The company started the year by becoming the first U.S. company to reach $3 trillion in value. Then, days later, the Federal Reserve signaled its plans to tighten monetary conditions faster than expected. A sell-off ensued that would become the first of many throughout the year. Apple is down around 30 percent year-to-date, and the drubbing continued this week when the stock hit a 52-week low. The big concern for investors now is whether Apple can overcome supply chain issues at its China-based suppliers.
Meanwhile, the rebounding airline industry managed to squeeze in one last crisis in the final week of the year. Southwest Airlines' stock slipped amid a surge in cancellations and delays that were initially blamed on the winter storm that struck the U.S. over the holiday weekend. Then, as other airlines normalized, it became clear that Southwest's problems were unique. The airline was canceling more than 50 percent of flights per day through Thursday, while competitors were canceling less than 1 percent of flights. Now Southwest is facing a federal investigation into its business practices, and some experts are blaming the debacle on its scheduling and IT systems.
It's been quite a year for crypto. Prices fell. Companies went bust, and the most confident predictions from boosters have proven wildly overoptimistic. While the collapse of FTX will likely be remembered as the crowning failure of the year for the industry, the decline of the Solana is another making headlines in the final week of 2022. The price of the cryptocurrency token, which at one time was a serious competitor to Bitcoin and Ethereum, has declined almost 95 percent so far in 2022. Notably, disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried was an outspoken champion of Solana, and his fall has contributed to the decline.