Default Swaps May Be Next In Credit Crisis

Here is one scenario: A hedge fund buys insurance in case a company defaults on its bonds — a so-called credit default swap — when the hedge fund doesn't necessarily own the bonds. Then it immediately shorts the stock, driving down the company's share price, leading to a downgrade, and eventually triggering a default. It is the ultimate moral hazard, like taking out fire insurance for a home you don't own: There is an obvious motivation to set the house on fire and collect the insurance.

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