A trick too far

Monolines

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Monoline insurers have pulled off some dazzling tricks over recent years. Having moved out from their traditional business of wrapping municipal bonds, long-established monolines entered into the higher-margin arena of structured finance. With onlookers aghast, a neat tap of the wand caused dealer exposures to collateralised debt obligations of asset-backed securities (CDOs of ABSs) to disappear. But with heightening losses on US subprime mortgages, these exposures have leapt out to startle bond

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