Sunday, September 14, 2008

Is an "immediate tsunami" bad?

24/7 Wall St.:
Bond king Bill Gross of Pimco believes that a failure of Lehman (LEH) will lead to "the risk of an immediate tsunami.. related to the unwind of derivative and swap-related positions worldwide in the dealer," according to Reuters.

The reason Mr. McIntyre here is writing that a Lehman failure "will lead" as opposed to "would lead" is because the government isn't going to put itself on the hook for Lehman's liabilities in any takeover plan, as they did in the case of Bear Stearns. Without that backstop, there's apparently just no way that BofA, Barclays, or any other of these relatively solvent banks can buy Lehman without violating their fiduciary duty to their own shareholders. They just hold too many crappy assets.

I don't know what's going to happen when the market opens tomorrow, but it seems there's a real possibility it joins Fannie and Freddie in the penny stock category.

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