Toxic assets


In the context of the 2007-2009 recession, the term refers to assets like mortgage backed securities and collateralized debt obligations that are illiquid and difficult to value. If the value of the underlying assets falls significantly, these securities could lose value rapidly (aggravated by the lack of liquidity and transparency in price) which could lead to significant write-downs (and hence losses) for holders of these toxic assets.

Investing Essentials

Copyright © 2011 Campbell R. Harvey, Professor of Finance, Fuqua School of Business at Duke University

Term of the Day

Islamic Loan

A loan that interest cannot be charged on. Instead, the loan is structured using discounts, sale or lease, profit participation, or repurchase agreements.

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