The funds can invest only in the highest-quality securities, so they can’t buy subprime debt. Some funds have bought commercial paper [short-term debt] from structured investment vehicles [SIVs] that hold subprime mortgages. What is making people jittery is that another batch of SIVs is on watch for a credit downgrade. So, while a money fund can’t buy lower-quality debt, what it has can deteriorate.

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