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A month ago, a well respected sell-side analyst released a report predicting that prices in equity markets will reach record highs in the next 12 months. Immediately after the release of the report, some institutional investors who feared a continuing loss of shareholder value publicly expressed optimism in a strong near-term future for equities.
Correct Answer: C
The institutional investors had feared since we are dealing with two events in the past.
The simple past tense feared is incorrect since two events occurred in the past at different times (i.e., the fear preceded the release of the report) and as a result, one must use the past perfect tense. feared should be replaced by had feared to show that the fear occurred before the release of the report.