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A Primer to Understanding the Trouble on Wall Street

A Primer to Understanding The Trouble on Wall StreetIt's mayhem on Wall Street. Yesterday the Dow Jones fell 3oo points before a late rally nearly erased the day's loses. Today the Fed announced a surprise cut of .5% in the discount rate on loans to banks. Stocks opened strong but then sank again to pare gains by half, and it's barely lunch time. Is your head spinning yet?

Even seasoned professionals are confused and fearful, and it's OK for managers to admit they're not exactly sure about all the intricacies of collateralized debt obligations and the other new-fangled financial instruments at the heart of the current credit crisis. Everyone has their specialty, and if yours doesn't happen to be finance, fear not. The good folks at Salon.com are offering a primer for smart people who don't quite get all the finer points of the latest trouble on the Street. Or, if you're looking for a little insight into the Fed's rate cut, check out the Wall Street Journal's explanation of the discount window, and impress your colleagues with your new found expertise.

(Image of financial professionals by rednuht, CC 2.0)