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Merrill: A Bunch Of Enablers

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Merrill Lynch CEO Stanley O’Neal’s alleged substance abuse problem (as alleged by myself yesterday) was validated this morning, when the bank reported a 68% swell in fourth quarter profits, resulting from record numbers in trading and underwriting stocks and bonds. Net income hit $2.35 billion ($2.41/share), up from last year’s $1.39 billion ($1.41/share). According to Bloomberg, O’Neal's "17 acquisitions in the past three years, bigger trading bets and leveraged buyouts pushed full-year revenue above the record set during the technology stocks boom in 2000.” Earnings were high enough to beat out Morgan Stanley, though not Goldman Sachs, which has got to sting. Expect some sort of a cry for help on O’Neal's part in the form of 8 new acquisitions next month.
Merrill Profit Rises 68% on Trading, Private Equity [Bloomberg]