Merrill Posts $4.65B Loss in Dismal 2nd Quarter

Third biggest American firm posts dismal second quarter
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 18, 2008 5:29 AM CDT
The corporate logo for Merrill Lynch is shown at an office, Tuesday, July 17, 2007 in New York.    (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
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(Newser) – Merrill Lynch posted a second-quarter loss of $4.65 billion late yesterday, more than twice the second-quarter loss analysts had expected and one of the worst in the brokerage's history. The firm took a hit of $9.7 billion in credit-market writedowns, reports Bloomberg, on top of some $30 billion in the previous three quarters. Moody's  cut Merrill's credit rating on the loss, which exceeded the $1.96-billion loss in the first quarter.

Merrill CEO John Thane cut jobs in the first half and has been selling assets, including the company's stake in Bloomberg LP and Financial Data Services, a mutual fund administrator.  "Merrill is a massive ship to right, and that is not going to be possible in a near-term timetable," an analyst tells the Wall Street Journal. "Revenue is going down, expenses can't go down fast enough, and he is now selling the sofa to pay the rent—and next month it will be the dining-room table."