Financial crisis just one ‘Bear-like’ event away: Economist

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By Rex Nutting
Last Update: 3:01 PM ET Jul 26, 2007

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — A global financial shock is just one “Bear-like” event away, economist Mark Zandi warned Thursday, giving it a one-in-five chance. In the current “high level of angst” following the collapse of two Bear Stearns funds, the uncertainty caused by another hedge-fund failure could cause investors to freeze, he said. Zandi, chief economist for Moody’s, said he expects significant declines in home sales and prices in coming months to further erode mortgage credit quality. About half of the structured securities owned by hedge funds are in the riskiest tranches of complicated derivatives based on the subprime mortgages that are going sour quickly, he said. If there is a global financial crisis, he said he expected the Federal Reserve would ease, but questioned how effective it would be in restoring confidence in the U.S. financial system. LINK