Most everyone on Wall Street, and on Main Street, wants to know when will the financial crisis end. So far, despite the government's efforts, the markets are whispering an answer that no one wants to hear.
Even as the secretary of the Treasury, Henry M. Paulson Jr., prepares to lay out a blueprint on Monday to overhaul financial regulation and prevent future crises, signs of stress are evident deep inside the financial markets.
Stock prices are gyrating. The dollar hovers near low points against leading currencies. The credit markets remain unsettled. And traders keep buzzing that Bear Stearns, which was saved from the prospect of a bankruptcy filing through a takeover backed by the Federal Reserve, may not be the last Wall Street bank to run into trouble.
But the proposals from the Treasury to change financial regulation, which critics say are long overdue and do not go far enough, are aimed at the future and do not address the current turmoil.
The debate in Washington over what to do is entering a new phase, with more calls for broad help for homeowners to help prevent what some fear could be a severe recession.
On Wall Street, it has been a grim first quarter. And in the next few weeks, big banking companies like Citigroup are expected to write down the already shrunken value of mortgage-linked investments further, sapping quarterly profit.
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