Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

Bear Stearns, the fifth largest investment bank in the United States, had $17 billion in cash and salable assets on March 11. At the close of trading on Friday, March 14, the eighty-five year-old firm had an exchange-listed market capitalization of just $4 billion. Over the ensuing weekend, one of its competitors, JP Morgan Chase & Co., agreed to buy Bear Stearns in a paper transaction backed by financing from the New York Federal Reserve Bank, for just under $240 million.

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