As expected, Merrill Lynch became the umpteenth financial
institution to take record write-downs linked to the sub-prime mortgage fiasco.
The U.S. investment bank's announced $14.1 billion in adjustments
in the fourth quarter came in near the top of the range of $10 to $15 billion
that analysts had predicted.
Merrill reported a net loss of $9.8 billion or $12.01 per share, the largest
in the company's history. One year earlier the bank had a fourth quarter
profit of $2.3 billion or $2.41 per share.
In the third quarter Merrill had a $2.3 billion loss and took an $8.4 billion
write-down. Subprime related losses for the entire year are in the range of
On Tuesday, in an attempt to head off some of the repercussions from the quarterly
reporting Merrill announced it had arranged to raise $6.6 billion in cash through
the sale of preferred convertible stock to Middle Eastern and Asian investors
including the Kuwait Investment Authority, Japan's Mizuho Corporate Bank,
and the Korean Investment Corporation.