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In Honor Of Friday The 13th, Here Are Some Of The Unluckiest Trades Of 2016

In Honor Of Friday The 13th, Here Are Some Of The Unluckiest Trades Of 2016

"Paraskavedekatriaphobia" — Ever heard of it? This phobia concerns fear of Friday the 13th. The day has been considered unlucky since time immemorial. There have been different explanations for why the day is unlucky, although the oft-mentioned reason is Jesus being with 12 of his disciples (adding up to 13) during the Last Supper after which he was turned over to the Sanhedrin for a trial and his subsequent crucifixion.

As we ponder the superstitions surrounding the day, Benzinga looked back at some of the unluckiest trades of 2016, which piled up massive losses on unsuspecting investors.

1. Soros Burns Fingers With Bearish Trump Bet

A Wall Street Journal report published Thursday suggested that hedge fund manager George Soros, a Hillary Clinton supporter, became increasingly bearish after the Trump victory and courted losses of about $1 billion in some of his trading positions.

2. Long Bets On Novavax Backfire Amid Failed RESOLVE Trial

Novavax, Inc. (NASDAQ: NVAX)'s heydays were over in mid-September when it had a precipitous fall. The reason: A late-stage study dubbed RESOLVE did not show vaccine efficiency in keeping respiratory tract disease at bay.

3. Investors Bleed On Ophthotech's Fovista Fiasco

Ophthotech Corp (NASDAQ: OPHT) got pounded on December 12, dropping over 86 percent after it said two of its late-stage trials evaluating its Fovista in combination with Roche Holding Ltd. (ADR) (OTC: RHHBY)-owned Genentech, Inc.'s Lucentis for treating wet age-related macular degeneration failed to meet the primary endpoints.

4. Post-Election Long Bets On Dryships Leave Investors High And Dry

DryShips Inc. (NASDAQ: DRYS), which ran up about 1,500 percent in the aftermath of the U.S. presidential election, saw its shares plunge steeply on November 17 following a trading halt on an information request. Those who were hoping for further gains and remained invested saw their investment dollars vanish in a dramatic fashion; the stock fell to $11 from $73.

5. Nvidia Defies Bearish Bets

High-flier NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ: NVDA) rallied 223 percent in 2016. Bearish calls on doubts concerning the sustainability of the rally proved to be wrong, as the stock rallied throughout the year amid the company's strong fundamentals and the momentum in the graphics chips market.

6. Oil Skeptics Made To Eat Their Words

Hedge funds, which shorted oil after the rally in middle of the year failed to take it past $50.5 a barrel, lost out. The commodity rallied through the year end amid an OPEC agreement to cut production quotas.

7. Sanderson Farms Weathers Bird Flu Fears

Ahead of the start of 2016, traders had bet against Sanderson Farms, Inc. (NASDAQ: SAFM) on expectations of more flu outbreaks and bans of its poultry. The stock defied the odds and ended the year up roughly 22 percent.

8. Chesapeake Speaks For Itself

After a torrid 2015, analysts weren't convinced that the selloff in Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE: CHK) is done yet, given the $11 billion-worth of debt it was straddled with. There was high probability of the company defaulting on the debt. However, the company's shares rose 56 percent in 2016, capitalizing on the higher oil prices and its concerted efforts to extinguish debt.

So, whether you suffer from paraskavedekatriaphobia or not, stop, breath, say "paraskavedekatriaphobia" three times fast and think before each trade.


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