Shares in Northern Rock, a big UK mortgage company are down almost 30% on news that the Bank of England had to provide emergency loans. Shares in CountryWide (CFC) are off 50% in less than two months. Bear Stearns (BSC) is down over 20% in the last quarter.
The big problem facing the markets is not what has happened to these companies in the past. It is a fear of what shoe will drop next. How bad it will be. How sudden and unexpected.
There is a way around all of this. It is risky and would require a lot of work by banks and financial institutions.
All of the public investment banks, money center banks, and mortgage banks should file their loan and investment portfolios with the SEC. As soon as possible. For some institutions, this could be tens of thousand of pages. But, in the computer age, supplying them is at least possible.
Some market experts and economists would argue that, if the figures were grim, it could case a massive drop in the markets and runs on hedge funds and banks. But, bit by bit, that is happening now anyway and every Northern Rock and CFC will make the activity accelerate.
Lance the boil and be done with it. There is no transparency. And, that is leading to a slow death for the markets
Douglas A. McIntyre