Merrill’s $5.7B Write-Down, $8.5B Share Issuance

I’m on an earlier than usual train home today, to take the missus out to dinner (she just flew back into NY today). Change at Jamaica, bump into a Natexis derivative trader I know from my old neighborhood. Our train comes, I sit with him, along with his pals from Merrill.

We are talking cars when one of the Merrill guys’ Blackberry goes off. He is a CDO manager, and he just got the IM that the big press release just hit the tape. The news about the write down and the new stock issuance is now public. He tells us about it — Write-Down = $5.7B; Share Issuance = $8.5B — and we all start talking about it.

My (naive) question: "Wait a second — didn’t Merrill just report last week? How did they not disclose a $5.7 billion dollar whackage?"

Merrill guy’s by-the-book-answer: "Earnings were the 17th; The decision had not yet been made to sell the ABS CDOs, or take the writedown, or issue more stock. That was done this week."

I think:  "yeah, sure it was."  Frickin weasels. 

Other Merrill guy says: "Geez, the stock is gonna get hit tomorrow" (ya think?) The stock closed Monday at $24.33, down 55% year-to-date.

Merrill woman: "When do we buy this?"

CDO guy: "When it hits $15"

Me: Ouch!


The Merrill announcement raises a lot of questions. Investors should be asking questions. If the SEC wasn’t so busy chasing rumors, squeezing shorts, and otherwise wasting taxpayer money — but not protecting shareholders — they might consider some of the following questions also:

1. Why did Merrill fail to disclose this write-down to shareholders when they reported on July 17th? The stock was $30.73 then; everyone who bought since then just got totally sandbagged.

2. The Financials — especially Merrill — traded today as if many people knew this was coming. How much non-public information leaked in advance of this announcement? (Isn’t non-public material inside information something the SEC used to care about?)

3. Who really thinks the worst of the write-downs, share issuance, and dilution is behind us? Anyone? Bueller? (These CDOs were
      vintage 2005. That means we have 06 and 07 yet to go).

4. Anyone think Financials are cheap? You cannot trust the "E," and the "P" is obviously subject to change. Think they might get cheaper?

5. Who really thinks the Financials have put in a bottom?

There is no doubt as to who foisted these losses on Merrill: Rumor-mongers, Short-sellers, and al-Qaeda. Management obviously had nothing to do with this. Hence, the SEC should be spending most of its budget, manpower, and time investigating those issues.

To say I am disgusted is an understatement. The SEC’s priorities are warped, they have become an embarrassing paper tiger, and a national disgrace. SEC chairman (let’s call him "Ken") better grow a pair and start thinking about that small class of his constituency known as shareholders.

Watch for the same old crowd of bottom callers, and for this to somehow be spun positively . . .


Merrill Lynch Announces Substantial Sale of U.S. ABS CDOs, Exposure Reduction of $11.1 Billion
Merrill Lynch Press Release, Monday July 28, 5:25 pm ET

Merrill Has $5.7 Billion of Writedowns, Sells Shares
Bradley Keoun and Christine
Bloomberg, July 28 2008

Merrill Aims to Raise Billions More
WSJ, July 29, 2008

Merrill Posts Another Loss; Write-Downs Keep Coming
July 18, 2008; Page C1

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. Jeff commented on Jul 28

    Big shocker. How can we believe ANY of the earnings reports of the financials at this point?

    I have three letters for you: SKF. Financials are going down, down, down…….

  2. JP commented on Jul 28

    If Thain knew, then he fraudulently represented the state of the company.

    If he didn’t know, then he lacks a crystal ball that can see a week into the future in his own company.

    Either way, he should be keel-hauled by the stockholders.

  3. Doug commented on Jul 28

    Down 11% prior to the announcement.

    Who still thinks the market is fair?

  4. a guy called john commented on Jul 28

    my former office mate has a t-shirt that sums it up nicely:

    fuck the fucking fuckers

  5. Patrick commented on Jul 28

    How can Thain be keel-hauled by the stockholders? I imagine most of them are thankful they have any money left at all!

  6. Jeff commented on Jul 28

    Don’t cry for Thain. His compensation package coming in the door at Merrill was/is ludicrous. I think he’ll be just fine either way. Merrill’s shareholders on the other hand……

  7. Mel commented on Jul 28

    I doubt this complicated deal, and it’s ramifications, went from idea to consumation so quickly. This took a lot of lawyering–and deal breaking/fixing. If not, the fire sale is taking place before the coming final fire.

  8. Bob commented on Jul 28

    > The decision had not yet been made

    Granted the actual decision may not have been made.

    However, IMHO and it will take a lot to change my opinion, the mere discussion of such a MATERIAL EVENT should have been disclosed when they reported. It is a sgnificant issue that shareholders should know of. Look at the items in the boilerplate in the annual report, how is this less important?

    In my opinion, ML management has abdicated their responsibilites. IMO, ML BoD has abdicated their responsibilites to the shareholders, playing word games instead of reporting responsibly.

  9. Jeff commented on Jul 28

    Wonder of Cox and the SEC will investigate this to do their JOB and protect shareholders? (the sound of crickets chirping in the background) I thought not.

  10. Chief Tomahawk commented on Jul 28

    Wasn’t the one difference the Australian bank who took massive writedowns last week, which has forced a cascade of new writedowns, which in this case includes Merril?

    But the stock traded today consistently down, so it sure looked like somebody had some usable intel. Too bad the SEC will never get around to them.

  11. equtz commented on Jul 28

    Paper on top of paper on top of paper. God help us if the FCB’s ever start to balk. Additional $26b to be issued this week.

  12. AGORACOM – George commented on Jul 28

    BR, first to answer your rhetorical questions:

    The worst is still ahead of us, not behind us.

    Financials are not cheap, as worst is still to come.

    Financials have not hit a bottom, the worst is still to come.

    Now, with that out of the way, the worst part is the insult to the intelligence of even the most basic of investors that such a decision had not been made on the 17th.

    When a (former stalwart) firm like ML begins playing these kinds of games with the investing public, it is a sure sign that all integrity and credibility has vanished from Wall Street.

    What ML doesn’t realize is that continued loss of credibility and integrity impacts their and the sector’s future far worse than had they announced all of this on the 17th. Who can trust the status of ANY player in the space now??

    Once investors determine Wall Street can not be trusted, it is lights out. Simple as that.

    I believe that is happening right now. This may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back.

    Beyond shameful, this is outright embarrassing for the entire US market. Not only are the underlying fundamentals a disaster, now we have boards and management teams playing dumb over $5.7 Billion.

    Look for these guys to appear on the next episode of “America’s dumbest criminals”.

    I swear on my eyes that my 6-year old twins could have hatched a better “we didn’t know” plan than this.

    What happened to Wall Street? What happened to America? Fargin disaster.

    Canadians used to cower in the shadow of our neighbor. Now, it looks like a classic tortoise and hare race.

    Look north fellow investors. We’ve got commodities and integrity “a plenty”.

    The Greek

  13. Jeff commented on Jul 28

    And you’ve (Canadians) got free health care……

  14. SINGER commented on Jul 28

    Is it such a slam dunk that MER shares will fall???

    I guess just short it under the prior lows…

    Off topic: SIRI is the worst stock ever!!!

  15. Vermont Trader commented on Jul 28

    Ugly Details…

    approx 365 mil shares. but hey don’t worry management buying 750k!

    raise 8.5B plus 1.3B overallotment that I am sure will be fully allocated.. So 9.8B


    write down 5.7B on CDO’s. Sold CDO’s to lonestar for 6.7B. These were valued at 11.1B just at the end of the last quarter. Almost 40% loss in the last month. Purchase 75% financied by MER.

    Temasek buys 3.4B in stock but they are getting 2.5B of that for free in exchange for giving up the rachet provision they negotiated in the last offering.

    Various other writedowns on hedge credit risks:1.3B

    Nice Job MER stockholders!!!

    You just sold about 36% of your company for 300 million in net proceeds. Gotta pay the bonuses after all.

  16. Stuart commented on Jul 28

    It’s mystifying why people aren’t screaming for Thain’s head. He just told the whole frickin’ world several times within the past month or two that they don’t need any more capital. Anybody who believes they didn’t know about these losses on the 17th, is an utter fool and deserves to be parted with their money. The corruption these bastards are getting away with is absolutely astonishing. One of these days, they’re going to piss off the wrong person. Maybe they have, they just don’t know it yet.

  17. taylor118 commented on Jul 28

    Do they get off in Rye, Port Chester, Stamford, Darien, or New Canaan?

  18. Jake commented on Jul 28

    I calculate Merrill write-downs at a little over $40B to date…

    Think they have a few more in them?

  19. D.H. commented on Jul 28

    How many months before Yahoo Finance lights up with plaintiff’s lawyers press releases looking for a lead plaintiff to sue MER? LOL.

    I feel like Enron and Tyco were yesterday. The message is clear: traders (no pun intended) get rich; shareholders get screwed.

  20. Patrick commented on Jul 28

    I’m not sure why everyone has such pity for the stockholders. I mean they have legal rights so go ahead and sue or whatever but last I checked an incredibly obvious sign that things were fucked came no later than ONE YEAR ago (almost to the week now). Previous to that there were not so front-page but equally obvious signs in FEBRUARY—1.5 year ago. Previous to that there were hints in 2005 of what was to come.

    I mean c’mon, it was plain as day in August of last year, and on top of that, in the following weeks we had a huge bounce back to new highs to give you every opportunity to unload your shares.

    Sorry that people got burned but I find it hard to believe that the supposed victims, the mythical stockholders, weren’t just being purposefully obstinate as long as their paychecks and bonuses kept rolling in and the stock kept rising. It’s a two way street, oh you bastions of capitalism, you.

    As for those who just didn’t realize—well, you do have some sympathy from me.

  21. ken commented on Jul 28

    Why does Barry and other assume the SEC will not investigate this and if crimes were committed prosecute the perps?

    On the face of it this announcement makes todays trading looks crooked. But it may not be.

    Could today’s price decline been due to Merrill telling large institutional investors, those holding convertable preferreds as well as common, that those preferreds were going to converted to common? I think notice is due them before this kind of move takes place. Does notifying the preferred holders satisfy the requirement for public disclosure of such a move?

    And if they learn that they are soon going to own a lot more common stock than what they feel comfortable with then naturally they would sell some common shares today while waiting for the preferreds to convert to common tommorrow.

    At the least some kind of quick SEC review is needed to assure the public this was above board or to announce further investigation will take place.

  22. jason commented on Jul 28

    I agree with all of Barry’s comments; but with that said, MER will likely close green tomorrow.

    There is never any good news, so rallies must happen on the back of items that market participants may think will be the worst of news. I’m not saying that I think this is the worst news we will see, but it may be bad enough that traders think that this kitchen sink will be the last one they are with.

    Who knows, maybe they aren’t that dumb. They probably are though.

  23. jason commented on Jul 28

    I agree with all of Barry’s comments; but with that said, MER will likely close green tomorrow.

    There is never any good news, so rallies must happen on the back of items that market participants may think will be the worst of news. I’m not saying that I think this is the worst news we will see, but it may be bad enough that traders think that this kitchen sink will be the last one they are with.

    Who knows, maybe they aren’t that dumb. They probably are though.

  24. Stuart commented on Jul 28

    CNBC better not spin this as positive tomorrow cause every forum/blog/comment section is raking MER over the coals over this and those people are pissed. Some are so pissed CNBC better line its foyer with titanium if it tries to spin it. Am sensing Joe public is nearing the saturation point with this shit. Where are the cops for god sakes.

  25. manhattanguy commented on Jul 28

    I have been long on SKF since last Thursday. Financials have more shoes to fall.

  26. Steve Barry commented on Jul 28

    The whole system is rotten to the core. Management is supposed to answer to the shareholders…guess what? Management ARE the BIGGEST shareholders. So they answer to nobody and award themselves 400 times the average worker’s pay.

    I have no remorse shorting Nasdaq into a smoldering crater.

  27. smoofy commented on Jul 28

    Don’t be surprised if MER climbs on Tuesday. This thing was 37 last Wednesday and it’s 24 today? This plan must have been a horribly kept secret. A lot of those shorting on the gossip will probably cover tomorrow as their edge on the trade is done. An opening gap down, maybe a probe lower – the insider shorts cover here, and MER ends up in the green.

  28. Ben commented on Jul 28

    It won’t gap down tomorrow, because the news was fully incorporated into the share price today, as the dramatic decline for “no reason” clearly shows the smart money knew what was up.

  29. Stuart commented on Jul 28

    “On July 28, 2008, Merrill Lynch agreed to sell $30.6 billion gross notional amount of U.S. super senior ABS CDOs to an affiliate of Lone Star Funds for a purchase price of $6.7 billion”

    22 cents on the dollar for super senior…22 cents. Add this to the NAB conference call and news release, well good luck keeping them on the books for more. They’ll try though, cause that’s just what they do.

  30. tomd commented on Jul 28

    How much has Lone Star Funds made short over the last week as this deal was being finalized?

  31. ECONOMISTA NON GRATA commented on Jul 28

    It looks like, it’s every man for himself. Off with the hairpieces. All bets are off.

    This was MER, not LEH or C or any of the other schmucks (did I spell it right…?) who are in relatively worse shape. It ain’t gonna be pretty. The Question clearly is, what are these companies’ stock worth……? What is their debt worth, here on planet Earth…..?

    Can anyone legitimately answer these questions….?

    These men (if you want to call them that), who are in charge, are fools and they will die a fools death. (Just an old Vegas saying)

    When I sat down at my desk this morning I was already bearish as hell and I had no idea that this was happening, no idea whatsoever. How could I….? Like you said, MER reported on the 17th. UN-FUCKING BELIEVABLE…..!

    Best regards,


  32. Donny commented on Jul 28

    Anyone think Financials are cheap? Think they might get cheaper?

    Hey Barry, good question! How can Financials be cheap, if they’re all losing money each quarter. Maybe, they should pay me to own their stock. But they can’t do that anymore, because they’re insolvent, running a ponzi scheme, and the music has stopped.

    What a bunch of asshats! You can put Thain’s name up there with, Mozilo, Prince, Raines, etc, etc, etc …

  33. easy$ commented on Jul 28

    I think MER’s stock price after all the writedowns are done will look something like this

  34. Stuart commented on Jul 28

    Wonder if Bove still thinks financials are a generational buy? Wonder if he meant you’d have to wait a generation to return to profit.

  35. RobT commented on Jul 28

    This deal gets so ugly when looking at the details. The convertible holders got $2.5 bn of ratchet shares free too. And this is assuming a share price above $27. A bunch of equity players are likely gonna hedge after. Not good.

  36. William Miller commented on Jul 29

    Helluva trade Lone Star!

    Buying $30.6 billion in “assets” for $6.7 billion and of that 75% is financed by the seller.

    So Lone Star gets the ABS CDOs for 21.9 cents on the dollar and comes out of pocket for less than 5 and a half cents.

    The best part…if Lone Star defaults MER gets all the CDOs back!

  37. Stuart commented on Jul 29

    An even better point to ponder is what does this mean to Goldman with it’s $300B of similar crap. This deal just screamed huge writedowns to come at GS.

  38. Francois commented on Jul 29

    “What ML doesn’t realize is that continued loss of credibility and integrity impacts their and the sector’s future far worse than had they announced all of this on the 17th. Who can trust the status of ANY player in the space now??”

    Their discourse screams “NO regulations for us!!”

    Their behavior screams exactly the contrary.

    These guys and gals are going to get served big time.

  39. AGG commented on Jul 29

    What we have here is negative value with an accelerating negative balance.
    The SEC is NOT going to help, is NOT going to investigate and is NOT going to prosecute anybody.
    However, there are some more hedge fund massive margin calls coming up. Their bets on financials went belly up and there’s going to be hell to pay this week. Time to be in cash, folks. They’ve thrown everything they can at this monstrous downturn and it’s just picking up speed.

  40. Stuart commented on Jul 29

    good comment from the ticker forum, particularly the year these
    CDOs are for.

    “An absolute disaster for MER (and other financials) on a few fronts:

    1) The vintages inside these “sold” CDOs are 2005 and earlier. These are performing on orders of magnitude better than the 2006 & 2007 vintages. I can assure you that CDOs with 06 & 07 vintages are uniformly zeros if they are RMBS laden.

    2) The “sale” is nothing of the sort. MER basically sold a call to Lone Star on the CDO. The recourse of the loan is limited to the CDOs only… in other words, Lone Star can “walk away” from the deal if losses in the CDO ramp up another $1.5 billion or so from current projections. In this event, MER would take back the CDO for what must be booked as a total loss (an additional $4 + writedown).

    3) It’s getting mighty tough to insist that these CDOs be marked to model when sales are taking place.

    4) Investors can begin to look at the CDO inventory, broadly subtract out 80%+ haircuts and do their own valuations. The conclusion you reach is that the brokers are all insolvent as are a good many of the major money center banks. This could well start a run that will ruin many big names.”

  41. Bthunder commented on Jul 29

    To change the subject somewhat,
    *** Does anyone remember MER buying back their own stock hand over fist at the TOP of the market? In late 2006 – early 2007? At almost $100/share? Excellent business decision. To be fair, every firm on the street was buying back shares. Don’t you think they could’ve used the cash now? Were they all so dumb? Oh, no. It was a calculated attempt to:
    A) extend the bubble by driving EPS higher while net earnings were tanking. July ’06 – Oct ’07 was the extension of the bubble engineered by Mr. Henry (Hank) Paulson and his cronies (like Mr. Thain, who at that time was head of NYSE,) AND
    B) a chance for insiders to cash out (i don’t mean grunts who work for paycheck and bonus, i’m talkin’ REAL BIG FISH here, like The Friends and Family.) Yep, a chance to dump their shares back to the MER treasury at $95 or higher. Nice deal if you can get it. As Barry pointed out, they’ll buy it back for $15 or below…. I bet they are largely the same group that was selling today before the official news release.
    They have been one step ahead all along. Same bunch of “big money” crooks-insiders. Those who not only tend to survive every depression/recession (1929, 1987, etc) but come out 5X wealthier every time after the dust settles. These are the people who placed Hank Paulson to run The People’s Treasury (for their benefit, of course.)
    Will there be an investigation? A snowball’s chance in Hell! To paraphrase the old textbook, they’re “too wealthy to fail.”

  42. crash commented on Jul 29

    This is bullcrap…
    Mullarky…as my popa would say!
    They’ve been cooking the books for a year!
    I don’t see anyway out of this mess any more…It’s looking like it’s just too deep.

    The best thing to do is let it all slide…
    The quicker it crashes the faster the ride and nightmare can come to an end.

    This equation has failed…miserably!

    Merrill…A sick joke! I wish I didn’t know!

  43. sanjosie commented on Jul 29

    The sovereign funds have all been taken to the cleaners on prior investments in finacials seeking new capital. Who’s to say they aren’t being played for chumps now? Uh-oh you own MER, you’re a penny stock-investor-to-be.

  44. RDM commented on Jul 29

    Cox and the SEC can’t be bothered with this nonsense they are too busy on their witch hunt of short sellers. Which, by the way, is the reason all these financial firms are having so much trouble.


  45. Steve Barry commented on Jul 29

    Watching Bloomberg TV…every 2 minutes, breaking news…so far, largest paint maker in world warned…SAP guided higher…Lucent/Alcatel CEO quits…In Asia, Nomura posts surprise loss (that’s a biggie)…Sony misses estimates. BP had a good qtr though.

  46. Joe commented on Jul 29

    These are quotes from Merrill in 2008, the most recent:

    “We deliberately raised more capital than we lost last year … we believe that will allow us to not have to go back to the equity market in the foreseeable future.” (April 8, 2008 — Thain to reporters in Tokyo, as reported by Reuters)

    “John Thain has been very clear that we have sufficient capital and don’t have a need to raise additional common equity for the foreseeable future. When we raised this capital in January, we had a lot of demand so we went beyond what we needed.” (May 12, 2008 — Merrill President Greg Fleming in an interview with the Times of London)

    “Today on a pro forma basis we have about $44 billion of equity capital, which actually isn’t very much below the all-time high that Merrill ever had. And our philosophy about this is that we are well-capitalized. We’re comfortable with our capital position. We, like everyone else, are deleveraging our balance sheet.” (June 11, 2008 — Thain on a conference call hosted by Deutsche Bank)

    “Right now we believe that we are in a very comfortable spot in terms of our capital.” (July 17, 2008 — Thain on a conference call after posting Merrill’s second-quarter results)

  47. RDM commented on Jul 29

    “we are well-capitalized”, LOL…

    That is the new unconditional signal to short the ever living shit out of a company.

  48. Andy Tabbo commented on Jul 29

    Weasely is good description of these actions. John Thain and co. are weasels.

    Technicals here: 1235 – 1220 zone here is very important to hold as the 61.8% – 78.62% retracements of the recent bounce. If you break 1220….watchout. I’ve reduced my SP500 puts here–just long a few puts at this point, looking for some very short term support here.

    A break of 1220 would get me selling again.

    – AT

  49. Andrew Foland commented on Jul 29

    As I understand it, MER just paid a $2.5BB penalty to raise $8.6BB.

    If they had waited 6 months, they would not have had to pay the penalty (the Temasek ratchet penalty expires in January.)

    Mr. Calculator says that’s the equivalent of paying 67% annual interest for the money over the next six months.

    That’s a lot.

  50. PrahaPartizan commented on Jul 29

    I just heard Arthur Leavitt on Bloomberg Radio talking about Thain’s actions, describing them as heroic and correct. Just wait and watch! The flacks will all be talking about how Thain did the right thing by making this announcement, without bothering to look back even two weeks to see what might have been known and which was denied vociferously.

    Technically, I suspect ML might be within the law. But they’ve displayed such a case of “Bart Simpson” ethics that one must question why anyone would ever deal with them again.

  51. Mike in NOLa commented on Jul 29

    So is its capital position much better after all this?

    1. Dumped CDO’s for 22 cents on the dollar, but had to finance 75% of it. ?How much cash did it actually raise?

    2. Selling $8.5B stock, but has to give more than half of what’s raised to recent investors. From CNBC:

    “The most recent round of capital raising was particularly bruising because of provisions Merrill agreed to when it raised money in December and January. Essentially, the investment bank said it would give the investors in those raisings extra compensation if it later issued equity at a lower price.

    That meant that in this offering, more than half the shares or share proceeds will go to prior investors, with $2.5 billion paid to compensate Temasek, and another $2.4 billion paid as additional dividends to investors in convertible securities.

    “Temasek agreed to invest the $2.5 billion in the new offering, as a large part of its purchase of $3.4 billion of common stock in this deal.”

    They must be really desperate.

  52. geckoman commented on Jul 29

    Wait a second here….I have been lead to believe by way of Merrill’s new commecrial that In these uncertain times I can aount on a leader in the fincial services with over a hundred years experience. You mean to tell me Merrill is lying in those commericals?

    When that commercial came out it was failry egregious that they think we were that stupid. The balls they and their PR firm had. I am sure we will see it run 10 times this morning.

  53. John commented on Jul 29

    “Ken” is a waste of f%$#@! space. He’s basically a Republican political hack put in the position by Bush to replace the previous political hack he put in who flamed out. Just another example of Bush’s penchant for appointing incompetents from Brownie to Goss. I’m not sure how Paulson and Gates happened, probably not vetted properly politically so they slipped through. Don’t look for Ken to do anything about this, he’s been asleep at the wheel for years. Thain is starting to turn into a disaster and as you say they only announced their results a week or so ago. What gives.

  54. mike commented on Jul 29

    never forget the Wall Street sales pitch

    Bad news is good

    Good news is great

    you should always buy stock !!

  55. Greg commented on Jul 29

    Interesting, if you look at the structure of this transaction with Lone Star from an options perspective, effectively MER has written a covered call for Lone Star.

    The payoff functions are exactly what you would expect from someone writing a covered call: MER takes all of the hit/gain (whichever you want to look at as the baseline) until the value of the portfolio hits the so-called “sale price” (strike price), Lone Star takes all of the gain after that.

    So, based on the price of the option (the amount of cash they are actually paying after the loan from MER), what is the implied valuation/volatility of the CDO portfolio?

    And wouldn’t this potentially have accounting implications if the auditors decided it should be valued as if MER was really writing a covered call?

    Inquiring minds want to know…

  56. DownSouth commented on Jul 29

    mike said: “Bad news is good.”

    Don’t you just love how CNN spun the story?

    NEW YORK ( — U.S. stocks looked set for a higher start Tuesday as Merrill Lynch’s move to shore up its financial condition appeared to boost the banking sector.

    At 8:20 a.m. ET, Nasdaq and S&P futures were trading higher, pointing to a positive open for Wall Street.

    Finance: Merrill Lynch (MER, Fortune 500) said after the market close Monday that it would take a $5.7 billion writedown and sell off $11.1 billion in mortgage securities in the current quarter.

    The brokerage also said it plans to raise $8.5 billion through the issuance of new stock.

    “That’s looked at as a healthy purge,” said Art Hogan, chief market analyst at Jefferies & Co.

  57. constantnormal commented on Jul 29

    So exactly how does Merrill rate an “A” rating from S&P?

    And what does this say about the prospects of Lehman remaining a public company, or remaining a company at all? I thought that Lehman was in worse trouble than Merrill, and Merrill suddenly seems to be standing over a lot of empty space.

    What’s next, Thain saying he was “deceived” or “misled”? Bad intelligence?

    I seem to recall one theory that linked the fall of the Roman empire to lead pipes used for drinking water, and a widespread drop of smarts in the leadership due to lead poisoning. Somebody better be checking the nation’s plumbing.

  58. Michael Donnelly commented on Jul 29

    Barry you can’t be serious, this is the 2005 issue of CDO? Those things ought to be just barely underwater based on how much housing prices have sunk. The 2006 and 2007 stuff will be orders of magnitude worse.

    Hope you can double check that. If you are right, then Merrill Stock is headed to single digits.

  59. JC commented on Jul 29

    I really can’t conjure up a worse deal for common shareholders.

  60. Ian commented on Jul 29

    Listen, Merrill knew this was coming long before Thain took the helm, and Thain knew it as well.
    Be sure, they’d have to pay any of us the kind of comp Thain is receiving to join that wreckage and take the heat for such a blatant disregard for integrity.
    Also, Amen to The Greek, above. It ain’t even close to hova!

  61. JC commented on Jul 29

    newspeak: “adequately capitalized” = “massive dilution & asset firesales coming”

  62. JC commented on Jul 29

    22% -Do you think the Fed loans more than 22% of the face value of these securities it takes as collateral?

  63. Gus commented on Jul 29

    Why should the SEC enforce the law? The Justice department sure as hell isn’t. More money gets shoveled into the coffers of the rich, and the rest of us suckers get fucked some more.

  64. sweeny texas commented on Jul 29

    “That’s looked at as a healthy purge,” said Art Hogan, chief market analyst at Jefferies & Co.

    The last healthy purge I had was right after drinking a quart of tequila…

  65. winslow commented on Jul 29

    We are probably witnessing the worse government in American history

  66. JC commented on Jul 29

    I think you mean the “worst” Winslow, yes without a doubt

  67. hr commented on Jul 29


    Are you picking up tips from people on the train?

  68. RF commented on Jul 30

    LOL at you wannabes!

    This is better reading than the Onion. Great call w/ ML takning a nosedive on this move. All you maroons here wannabe stock seers wouldn’t know a PE from an RBI. Seriously go back to your ridiculous jobs, and quit trying to play “stockbrokers”.

    But do keep posting here, as it replaces the lost talent on SNL for those of us that truly are in the know.

Posted Under