Reasons to be Cheerful

KAI PFAFFENBACH / REUTERS

SHELL SHOCKED: Fear over falling prices creates opportunity

Everywhere you turn these days, there's cause for panic. The news is filled with talk of a global credit crisis. American homeowners are defaulting on their loans and housing-related stocks have crashed. The dollar is doing a disappearing act. Alan Greenspan, after years of artful obfuscation, has suddenly discovered a terrifying gift for clarity, warning that inflation will rise and house prices will tumble. Stock market volatility has surged. And now, feeding fears that the contagion is spreading, the British bank Northern Rock has suffered a near-death experience.

So why am I feeling so cheerful? Because it's at...

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