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Under Pressure - Another Top Firm In The Spotlight

Merrill Lynch in the Spotlight

It was Merrill Lynch's turn in the spotlight Tuesday, as analysts revised their views on the firm's immediate prospects. Merrill's shares closed 1.1% down, after Fox-Pitt Kelton analyst David Drone said that the firm is likely to post a first quarter loss, and may end up writing down another $8bn in assets. There are, however, no liquidity concerns.

Goldman Said Likely To Axe 15%

The New York Post reports that Goldman Sachs is likely to axe up to 15% of its capital markets and investment banking staff, including support personnel. The newspaper, which quotes unnamed 'sources familiar with the matter', says that some staff were tapped on the shoulder as early as last Monday. Goldman currently employs around 32,000 people.

JPMorgan Ups Bear Bid To $10-a-Share

Just as billionaire investor Joe Lewis, the man believed to have lost around $1.2bn on his investment in Bear Stearns, is said to be turning up the heat on JPMorgan (and others are thought to be considering legal action), JPMorgan executives decided to increase their offer for Bear from $2-a-share to $10-a-share, valuing the firm at around $1.2bn (Bear's shares were trading at $170 each 12 months or so ago).

And You Can Forget Much Of A Bonus In 2008!

2007 was a funny old year. The first six months saw investment banks pull in record revenues and reap record profits, but the back end of the year was an unmitigated disaster. Yet many financial markets professionals still managed to bag record (or at least decent) bonuses. But 2008 will be very different.