Brief encounter

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Even the most stoical of investors could not fail to have been shaken by events in financial markets during the past three weeks. The collapse of Lehman Brothers and the sale of Merrill Lynch on 'Blue Monday' prove the validity of at least one saying: expect the unexpected.

For the extremely risk-averse, the panic would have meant a dash towards protection at its most basic - capital guarantees, or at least a good slug of downside protection to wash down market risk. But in the current climate,

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