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Cox's short-selling ban
Cox's short-selling ban
SEC chairman Christopher Cox
Careful what you wish for. Under attack for not doing more to stop the market plunge, SEC chief Christopher Cox finally institutes a temporary ban on shorting, or betting against, 799 financial stocks.

"The emergency order temporarily banning short selling of financial stocks will restore equilibrium to markets," Cox promises.

But shares in banks, brokerages and insurance companies continue to plunge, losing a quarter of their value during the three weeks the mid-September order was effective. Some investors say the short ban hastened the flight of capital from stock and bond markets, by showing the government could intervene in markets in unexpected and troublesome ways. -- By Colin Barr, Fortune senior writer

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NEXT: McCain's economic denial
Last updated December 31 2008: 10:36 AM ET
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