Sunday, November 4, 2007

Legg Mason Value Trust Releases Letter to Shareholders

Via EARTHtimes:

On the 20th anniversary of the Crash of '87, the US stock market took a drubbing, falling 2.56%. In a curious parallel, the woes that are besetting the market are the result of a crash in the credit markets every bit as severe as that which hit equities back then, but which threatens to have more impact on the US and the global economy.

The stock market can close down for a while and it really doesn't matter all that much. The primary function of the stock market is not to finance company operations, it is to price assets. Companies go public once, and most come to the equity market for capital sporadically, and then typically to finance long-lived projects or acquisitions.

Credit markets are different. They are the source of liquidity to fund operations. If they are not functioning, the economy is threatened. That is why the problems that began in US subprime but which have spread to encompass a wide swath of the mortgage market, as well as the commercial paper market, are so serious and have galvanized central banks and government financial authorities to move swiftly to try to restore those markets to normalcy....MORE