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European Bank Rout Demonstrates Cost of Uncertainty: The Ticker

Percent of Market Rumors Denied

By Jonathan Weil

It's a bloodbath today in the markets, especially for European banks. Real information seems to exist only in a vacuum, feeding the frenzy.

The share price of French Bank Societe Generale SA fell as much as 23 percent and the annual cost of insuring against a default on 10 million euros in the bank's bonds rose about 29,000 euros to 299,000 euros as investors worried about the impact of the European debt crisis on the bank. A spokeswoman for Societe Generale said the company "categorically denies all market rumors," according to Bloomberg News. That would seem to include even the good ones, such as the speculation by Sanford Bernstein analyst Dirk Hoffman-Becking today that the French bank selloff will be short-lived.

Opacity has its price, and today it's a steep one.

(Jonathan Weil is a Bloomberg View columnist.)

-0- Aug/10/2011 15:50 GMT

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