Facebook Inc.'s stock has dropped more than 20.2% since Monday, with its plunge on Thursday marking the single worst one-day drop for any stock in recorded U.S. market history. That's a staggering $128 billion buzzcut for shareholders and $16 billion for CEO Mark Zuckerberg personally.
Wall Street, of course, is falling all over itself this morning, and I'd be laughing my asteroids off if the situation weren't so predictable. The situation reminds me very much of Enron.
If you're new to the financial markets or you don't recall what happened nearly two decades ago, here's a quick primer.
Enron was a Wall Street darling because of its ability to seemingly create profits out of thin air based on staggering energy trading profits. Executives were widely praised for their visionary leadership, ambition, and innovation. Fortune, in fact, named Enron "America's Most Innovative Company" six years in a row from 1996 to 2001.
At the turn of the century, the company was processing nearly $350 billion in trades, and its stock had hit a peak of $90.75 a share per share on Aug. 23, 2000. Shares were worth $0.26 – no, that's not a typo; twenty-six cents each – when the company declared bankruptcy on Dec. 2, 2001.