Dragged down

Monolines

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As write-downs by global banking giants on exposures to the US subprime mortgage sector increase seemingly daily, the last thing battered institutions need is more bad news. However, rating agency downgrades for monoline insurers ACA Capital, Ambac Assurance, Financial Guaranty Insurance (FGIC) and Security Capital Assurance (SCA) - and the likely threat of a similar fate befalling rival guarantors - could plunge structured credit markets further into the mire.

Aside from forcing some

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