Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Merrill's Mortgages
Merrill Lynch announced more write-downs yesterday and a dilutive plan to raise $8.5 billion in new capital. The market is trying to make sense of this deal, as Merrill's stock was down early this morning but has now turned positive. I think the market is seeing that despite Merrill selling a $30.6 billion portfolio of mortgages for $6.7 billion there was a buyer for the securities. Buyers have been absent for a year and the tentative return is encouraging. I think it's important to watch (and I don't know if this will be possible) the resale of the securities by the private equity firm. It bought the mortgages for $.22 on the dollar, and I am sure its expects higher resale prices, probably in the near future. These transactions will give buyers, sellers and other market participants important valuation information.

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