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Trading Tales & Rumours

Was something dodgy going on at Merrill Lynch earlier this week ? The firm's stock fell some 12% during market trading Monday, and, after the bell, Merrill, of course, announced more asset writedowns and capital raising. Did someone in the know doing something silly (and illegal), and tip off market participants to bail out ? And then there's the question of the spike in the firm's put option volumes. Could this have been tied to a news leak ?

2008 Bonus Watch

'What's a bonus ?' is the now familiar refrain in the financial markets. 'Being in a job at year-end' comes the standard response.

Bear Stearns Lives On

Bloomberg reports that the Bear Stearns name is to live on, after all. Despite the feeling that the Bear name might be discredited, JPMorgan Chase has decided to breathe life back into it, and has pulled 326 retail brokers together, including Bear legend and former CEO Ace Greenberg, and told them to operate under the Bear nomenclature.

Doubts Expressed About Merrill's 'Garbage' Deal

When Merrill Lynch announced Monday that it was offloading a significant portion of its CDO portfolio to a unit of private equity firm Lone Star at 22 cents on the dollar, there was a sense that, bad as this news was, Merrill had bitten the bullet and that things could only look up. After a couple of days reflection, however, not everyone is so sure that this is the case.

Top Firm Says 'No' To 'Hankey-Pankey'

Sexy Show Jumpers

Financial News reports that Barclays Wealth has pulled its branding (although not its sponsorship) from a British Masters Invitational show-jumping event at Chester this weekend, after two 'provocative' pictures of a couple of the UK's leading horsewomen 'brandishing whips and lying in the hay' were released to the press to publicize the event. One of the pictures, complete with the ladies in leather-like boots, is immediately on the right.

Did I Really Say That ?

Merrill Lynch came out this week and announced further asset writedowns and another round of capital raising. And CEO John Thain must be regretting some of the remarks he has made in the last 8 months about his firm and the strength of its balance sheet. Reuters has put together a selection of Thain's comments.



Pot Of Gold

City pay and bonus boom revealed

The financial rewards handed to the City's highest-paid bankers rose by a third last year – and more than 2,700 of them were paid more than €1m (£830,000) in 2012.