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Red Herring: Investor rage gets ugly

Jun 07, 2001, 20:08 (34 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Dan Briody, Stephen Lucey)

Here's a real-world reminder of what's important. Red Herring describes how some investors are angry about their losses in the stock market and are now trying to take it out on company officials. The example used in the article: Red Hat's Matthew Szulik, who has received death threats against himself and his family because of the decline in Red Hat's stock price:

Death threats have arrived at the doorsteps of some Wall Street analysts and CEOs. Class-action lawsuits are gobbling up the time and precious cash of technology companies, who are turning out to be the prime targets of late: more than half of investors' lawsuits targeted technology companies in 2000, up from 35 percent in the 1990s. Meanwhile, investment banks are under fire from regulatory bodies for allegedly rigging the IPO process during the height of the Internet craze. No one is beyond suspicion; everyone is on edge.
"My kids' ages are off limits, because of security. We get death threats at work from dissatisfied shareholders," says Matthew Szulik, CEO of Red Hat (Nasdaq: RHAT), whose stock plummeted from a high of $143 in December 1999 to a low of $5 a year later, erasing $23 billion worth of market capitalization. "People bought in when the stock was hot and the movement was hot," Mr. Szulik groans, "and now they're pissed."...
People traded on whims, gut feelings, and often with no more knowledge than a company's ticker symbol. So imagine the surprise of these novices when the stock market -- which had done nothing but go up since they signed on -- suddenly expected them to share the burden of $4.7 trillion in losses.

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