Don’t think of it as calamity. Think of it as an opportunity!

In a rare–and somewhat appalling– display of candor, a Citigroup/Smith Barney ad in yesterday’s WSJ explored the possible financial upside of an avian flu pandemic.

Coming as a “strategic brief” from two of their senior research directors, the ad is chillingly nonchalant: “The investing implications of Avian Flu could be large, pandemic or not.”

No doubt true: double-down on Cipro, respirator makers and pork (the other white meat), and you could maybe make a pile if Big Bird hits. How you’d get all that money out of the bank through the hysterical mobs and the National Guard tanks is another story. But that’s where smart financial advisors can make all the difference!

That big red Citigroup umbrella sure covers a pretty broad spectrum. On one end you’ve got Citibank, whose message that life matters more than money is conveyed beautifully in its “Live Richly” campaign. On the other, you’ve got Smith Barney, whose perhaps inadvertent message is neatly captured in the title of their FREE report: “Avian Flu: Science, Scenarios & Stock Ideas.”

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