‘Bear Stearns is fine.’
— Jim Cramer, March 11, 2008
Jim Cramer has made a career by being unequivocal in his opinion of stocks. On March 11, 2008, the CNBC anchor and host of Mad Money told one of his viewers that it would be “silly” to move his money out of the investment bank, Bear Stearns. In his characteristic “boo-yah” fashion, Cramer turned to the camera and yelled: “Bear Stearns is fine!” He was, of course, very wrong. Within a week, the once storied financial institution was on the brink of collapse. As confidence in Bear’s ability to survive began to evaporate, frightened credit markets began to seize-up and federal regulators decided to step in and orchestrate a shotgun corporate wedding to JPMorgan. The feds argued that allowing Bear to fail would have led to a domino effect that would topple institutions up and down Wall Street and beyond. Neither they -- nor Cramer for that matter – could have predicted that propping up Bear would only buy other troubled institutions like Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch a few months before they went bust and nearly took the entire financial system with them.
Gajilan is a senior articles editor for Newsweek.com, covering business.
Editors Note: An earlier version of this list entry was written by CNBC journalist David Faber and was solicited by Newsweek.com without accurately conveying to him the context in which it would appear. As a result, Faber, who was not shown the final edited item, appeared to be complicit in the criticism of a network colleague, which was not his intention. In light of the circumstances, we have removed the piece, we deeply regret its publication and we apologize to Faber and to CNBC for the error in judgment.