Things must be really scary on the Continent. The European Central Bank held its August meeting in Frankfurt on Thursday. In previous years, including...

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Things must be really scary on the Continent.

The European Central Bank held its August meeting in Frankfurt on Thursday. In previous years, including 2007, the ECB has typically met via conference call during the region’s prime vacation month. In 2000, then-President Willem Duisenberg acknowledged that August “is an awkward date to have a meeting.”

“How noble,” High Frequency Economics economist Carl Weinberg writes in a note, tongue planted in cheek. “Tough times make for tough central bankers, eh?” The ECB voted Thursday to keep interest rates steady amid inflation pressures and slower growth.

Hedge funds hurting

In the second quarter, cash flows into hedge funds fell to the lowest level since the fourth quarter of 2005. Investors put $29 billion into the funds in the first half, compared with $118 billion in the prior-year period, according to Hedge Fund Research.

Hedge funds lost 2.4 percent in July while the Standard & Poor’s 500 index lost just 1 percent. It was the fourth time in the past 12 months that the hedge-fund index dropped more than 2 percent.

Taking stock of suits

When looking at companies, analysts try to predict everything from profits to merger partners to future CEOs. But the Corporate Library, a research firm specializing in corporate governance, takes it a step further: It estimates which companies are likely to get sued, assigning ratings based on a company’s odds of being named in a securities class action.

How accurate is the assessment? Of the 71 suits filed in the first half of this year, 44, or 62 percent, hit companies that had high or very-high risk ratings. Three hit companies with low risk ratings.

The Associated Press