Abstract We compare correlations and coherent structures in nuclei and financial markets. In the nuclear physics part we review giant resonances which can be interpreted as a coherent structure embedded in chaos. With similar methods we investigate the financial empirical correlation matrix of the DAX and Dow Jones. We will show, that if the time-zone delay is properly accounted for, the two distinct markets largely merge into one. This is reflected by the largest eigenvalue that develops a gap relative to the remaining, chaotic eigenvalues. By extending investigations of the specific character of financial collectivity we also discuss the criticality-analog phenomenon of the financial log-periodicity and show specific examples.