A step into the unknown

credit derivatives

Wall Street has always been a cauldron of invention in finance, a source of new instruments that have reshaped the investment landscape, from mortgage-backed securities to the panoply of derivatives that are becoming integral parts of global markets. But often the invention process comes with more than a few growing pains—and occasionally big losses—for willing investors and traders.

On Wall Street today, the current focus is on credit derivatives. Products like CDOs of CDOs and first-to-default

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