by Rick Ackerman
U.S. stocks executed a shallow swan-dive around mid-session on Thursday, spooked by news that a bunch of hedge funds had withdrawn spare collateral parked with Deutsche Bank. (See tout at bottom of this page.) Predictably, the pundits downplayed Deutsche’s problems, including a $14 billion shakedown by U.S. regulators to settle mortgage claims from the Great Financial Crisis. With unintentional, heavy-handed irony, Bloomberg.com calmly noted that “the situation doesn’t appear to be that dire for Deutsche Bank at the moment. But it’s clear the lender’s problems are escalating rapidly.” Did your scalp tighten, or your heart palpitate, when you read that sentence? None of us will have forgotten that “the situation” didn’t appear to be “that dire” for Lehman or Bear Stearns either — up until mere days before each went down like the USS Thresher.