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Efforts to regulate 'Wild West' markets are long overdue

Moves by the Fed and the Treasury to prop up mortgage giants are a welcome sign.

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Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke might be surprised to hear themselves compared to Wyatt Earp, the iconic figure in American history, who helped restore some order to the Wild West of the 1800s.

But Bill Gross, manager of $812 billion of investments (about 1 percent of the total financial market in the United States), refers to the nation's financial markets as today's "Dodge City," and moves by the two Washington officials last week as an effort to bring a greater rule of law and order to it.

New and strengthened regulations springing from the current financial crisis will be significant and probably good, says Mr. Gross, cochief investment officer of PIMCO, a Newport Beach, Calif., firm managing the gigantic Total Return bond fund and other mutual funds. "Only time and the election will tell how far it will go," he says by phone.


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