As if an odd wind was blowing through the market, several firms released research reports last month surrounding stability in the collateralized debt obligation arena.

As it happened, Standard & Poor's issued a Dec. 19, 2002 report aimed primarily at implications for bond insurers from the poor performance of the CDO sector. Prior to that, Gotham Partners, a New York-based hedge fund, issued an opinion piece targeting insurer MBIA. That report, dated Dec. 9, 2002, expressed several concerns and, more specifically, cited what it said were billions in losses due to MBIA's "overexposure" to CDOs. Gotham's figures were based on mark-to-market accounting valuations.

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