Thursday, January 10, 2008

WSJ: Citi, Merrill May Report Additional Losses of $25 Billion

by Bill McBride on 1/10/2008 12:17:00 AM

Before visiting the confessional, Citi and Merrill are out trying to raise more capital. From the WSJ: Citigroup, Merrill Seek More Foreign Capital

Two of the biggest names on Wall Street are going hat in hand, again, to foreign investors.
Merrill is expected to get $3 billion to $4 billion, much of it from a Middle Eastern government investment fund. Citi could get as much as $10 billion, likely all from foreign governments.
Both Citi and Merrill are scrambling to nail down the details before they report earnings next week that are expected to include additional losses stemming from their exposure to mortgage-related investments. Together, these additional losses could reach as much as $25 billion.
Meanwhile, Capital One is already in line: Capital One Profit Expected to Fall Short As Loan Woes Worsen
Capital One is expected to announce today that it expects charge-offs of $5.9 billion in 2008, up from its October forecast of $4.9 billion to $5.5 billion, partly because of worsening economic indicators that include rising unemployment.
Ten billion here, ten billion there ... pretty soon you're talking real money.

For interest, I looked up the frequently quoted Senator Everett Dirksen line: "A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you're talking real money." Here is what the Dirksen center says:
Bottom line: the late Senate Minority Leader certainly would have endorsed the meaning behind the phrase, but it is questionable that he ever coined it.

Update, May 25, 2004. A gentleman who called The Center with a reference question relayed that he sat by Dirksen on a flight once and asked him about the famous quote. Dirksen replied, "Oh, I never said that. A newspaper fella misquoted me once, and I thought it sounded so go that I never bothered to deny it."

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