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Banking

Tuesday August 14 – Out of control

This is a week in which some of the brightest, best educated, most eloquent – who can normally argue three different and contradictory positions at once on the economy, the markets and their own industry – discover that they've somehow lost track of how the new financial markets work. They know it's somewhere, but they have no idea where and in what measure they have distributed the risks. Some of the usually vociferous don't want to talk at all, fearful that if they say something today and the markets move the opposite way tomorrow, they'll look stupid. But no one looks terribly clever.

The week Wall Street went into meltdown


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Every conversation this week – as Euromoney breakfasts, lunches, dines around midtown and Wall Street, waits impatiently in executive reception areas, has meetings cancelled, rearranged, retrieves urgent, apologetic cell phone messages, dials and chats – begins with the same ritualistic small talk. Are markets getting back to normal? The answer is always no, it’s far too early to say that. Is there any clarity as to where the most serious problems are, the worst stresses and strains will be felt, which counterparts are to be treated most warily? And it’s always the same disappointed, rueful shrug and the same admission: "We have absolutely no idea." This is a week in which some of the brightest, best educated, most eloquent, who can normally argue three different and contradictory positions at once on the economy, the markets and their own industry, discover that they’ve somehow lost track of how the new financial markets work. They know it’s somewhere but they have no idea where and in what measure they have distributed the risks. Some of the usually vociferous don’t want to talk at all, fearful that if they say something today and the markets move the opposite way tomorrow, they’ll look stupid.


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