Pre-Earnings Whisper Not Good for Merrill

By announcing the likelihood of a multibillion-dollar write-down in its third quarter a few weeks ago, Merrill Lynch prepared investors for dismal earnings. One day before their release, just how bad those earnings will be is fueling the rumor mill.

By announcing the likelihood of a multibillion-dollar write-down in its third quarter a few weeks ago, Merrill Lynch prepared investors for dismal earnings. One day before their release, just how bad those earnings will be is fueling the rumor mill.

One story suggests the expected $5 billion write-down may even be a tad light for the firm. (Click here to read that story.) Indeed, shares of Merrill (ticker: MER) had fallen more than 2 percent before noon today before creeping upwards again.

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