Merrill Panic May Mark Bottom of Stock Market

Once regaled for cavalier confidence, CEO's chief cuts losses
By Clay Dillow,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 1, 2008 10:30 AM CDT
In this Jan. 26, 2008 file photo, Chief Executive Officer of Merrill Lynch John Thain speaks during a working session at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.    (AP Photo/Michel Euler, fi e)
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(Newser) – Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain has seen better days, Floyd Norris writes in the New York Times. He's gone from “cockiness to capitulation. Distinction to desperation.” Thain recently unloaded a bundle of his company’s securities for 22 cents on the dollar and raised $8.5 billion from a stock sale. But this uncharacteristic fear could indicate that Wall Street has finally hit bottom.

“It is Wall Street legend that bottoms are made when the most optimistic give up,” Norris notes. “The worst of the economy is almost certainly ahead of us. But it is possible that the worse of the stock market is not.”