Dexia? What kind of name is that for a bank? Bank names are supposed to connote solidity: Banque Nationale de Paris, Crédit Agricole. Dexia sounds like a laxative. And it seems to be the first European bank to have succumbed to the crisis, although the French and Belgian governments, while assuring depositors and creditors that they will be made whole, isn't actually using the word "bankrupt." Instead, they speak of "breaking up" the bank and selling off the pieces. What they aren't saying quite so loudly is that the pieces are worth far less than the whole, and that one of the pieces will be a "bad bank," filled with Dexia's now worthless investments and owned by the taxpayers of France and Belgium. But there we are.
Strangely, this news isn't even in this morning's Times, which is still on the news of the day before yesterday that Dexia's stock was collapsing, and the US stock market rose sharply yesterday after falling sharply the day before, supposedly because of concerns about European debt. But here is the first major casualty of European debt, and the market is up. Go figure.