Merrill Lynch reels from big write-down

Merrill Lynch & Co was the bank John Key last worked for before coming back to NZ. 

NEW YORK – US financial giant Merrill Lynch & Co today reported the biggest quarterly loss in its history after writing down US$8.4 billion, mostly from bad investments related to risky subprime mortgages.

“The bottom line is we got it wrong by being overexposed to subprime,” Merrill Lynch Chairman and Chief Executive Stan O’Neal said on a conference call. “And we suffered as a result of an unprecedented liquidity squeeze and deterioration in that market. No one, no one is more disappointed than I am in that result.”

Merrill was the only big Wall Street firm to post a third-quarter loss. And its write-downs, before hedges, were bigger than the combined US$3.6 billion in write-downs and charges recorded by rivals Goldman Sachs Group, Bear Stearns, Morgan Stanley and Lehman Brothers Holdings.

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