I doubt there could be a much more direct indicator of how absolutely abysmal things are than New York and federal prosecutors cooperating on anything. Perhaps its when the New York Times calls Credit Default Swaps, the dangerous new focus of this probing probe, "the insurancelike securities."
To help you navigate the difficult waters of Credit Default Swap investigations in the months to come, and the reporting thereon, we have put together a CDS Scrabble/YahtzeeTM scoring guide.
1. Scoring (Generally): Use a score pad or piece of paper to keep a tally of each journalist's score, entering it after each article. The score value of each word is indicated by an entry in the word score log. Words not in the log are worth 0 points.
2. Word Values: The score for each turn is the sum of the scorable word values in each sentence(s) formed or modified in that article plus the additional points obtained from placing multiple scoring words in single sentences.
Examples (after the jump):
One investor, who asked for anonymity to avoid drawing attention to his firm, said the swaps market was becoming a convenient scapegoat for regulators.
Single word score.
Mr. Cuomo's office has issuedsubpoenas seeking data from various parts of the industry....
Double word score.
...tradersmanipulated the largely unregulated market.
Triple word score!
Tensions between the offices ran high when Eliot Spitzer, the former New York governor, was attorney general.
And, just let us be the first to say it, ok?
In the swaps market, investors buy and sell insurance protection against defaults on bonds. The cost of the protection, also known as a spread, rises when investors grow more concerned about the viability of companies.
...is the new...
Short sellers seek to profit from a stock's decline by selling borrowed shares and replacing them at a lower price. Bank executives blamed short sellers for the declines in stocks, including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which collapsed just before the ban went into effect.
(Bonus contest: Nothing at all of value to the first commenter who can tell us "what is wrong with this picture?)
Joint U.S.-New York Inquiry Into Credit-Default Swaps [The New York Times]