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Merrill Lynch posts $1 billion Q3 loss on subprime mortgages

Subprime, CDO write-downs total nearly $8 billion

Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc. said today it posted a $2.3 billion net loss in the third quarter, thanks largely to $7.9 billion in write-downs and losses on investments in subprime mortgages and collateralized debt obligations (CDOs). Those write-downs, which the company conceded were "significantly greater" than the $4.5 billion write-down disclosed in its earnings pre-release, helped send the major stock indexes lower Wednesday. "In light of difficult credit markets and additional analysis by management during our quarter-end closing process, we re-examined our remaining CDO positions with more conservative assumptions" on the value of underlying collateral, said Stan O'Neal, Merrill Lynch chairman and chief executive officer, in a statement. "The result is a larger write-down of these assets than initially anticipated. We expect market conditions for subprime mortgage-related assets to continue to be uncertain, and we are working to resolve the remaining impact from our...

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