Wednesday, August 22, 2007

"They're all Waldos now."

Excellent article in today's CNN/Money section by Bill Gross, describing just why the panic has spread so quickly in the commercial paper market.

Essentially, no one knows quite where the "bad" money went. Here's the money quote:
Those looking for clues to the extent of the spreading fungus should understand that there really is no comprehensive data to allow anyone to know how many subprimes actually rest in individual institutional portfolios.

So if subprime loan default rates have tripled, and you don't know how many subprime loans are currently in your portfolio, you don't actually know how much money you have in your portfolio, because you don't know how much is going away.

But getting back to essentials: no one can make money sitting on a mattress. When the storm clears up -- and it will -- my hunch is that lenders are going to be much less forgiving of mistakes than they have been.

TIP: If you're in business for yourself right now, hold off on any unnecessary car purchases. The single biggest deal killer for loans is that new car you just bought.

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