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Ed Dwyer, treasurer at Bristol-Myers Squibb, thought that he had found a nifty way to make a nice gain on some $800 million in cash the company had on hand available to invest. He parked the funds in auction rate securities (ARS)–interests in collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) supported by pools of residential and commercial mortgages or credit cards, insurance securitizations and other structured credits, including corporate bonds which had collectively been rated AA by Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s and Fitch.

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