#1: European Debt Crisis
One huge reason for the crazy volatility in stocks was Europe’s debt crisis. The euro zone is facing serious fiscal issues, with Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain all staring down the barrel of potential sovereign debt defaults. The financial turmoil in the region forced the Greek and Italian prime ministers to resign, and only recently have European leaders cobbled together some sort of coordinated effort to bail out the region. Failure to find some sort of short-term solution to the region’s fiscal woes threatened a major meltdown in global markets, and whether the most recent European deal will succeed is far from determined. Fear of this kind of pernicious European debt contagion — and the stranglehold it had on U.S. markets — made this the biggest market story of the year.
As of this writing, Jim Woods did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned stocks. Check out InvestorPlace.com’s other looks back at 2011 and ahead to 2012 here.