Thursday, January 17, 2008

On Second Thought

Uhhh, maybe we'd better take a closer look at these guys. Bloomberg (01.17.08):
"Moody's Investors Service and Standard & Poor's increased their scrutiny of bond insurers after losses on subprime-mortgage securities prompted Ambac Financial Group Inc. to report writedowns of $3.5 billion.

Ambac may lose its AAA credit rating after reporting larger losses than the company previously indicated, Moody's said in a statement yesterday."

Moody's, S&P Reviewing Bond Insurers as Losses Mount

"S&P is examining all bond insurers after increasing its predictions for losses on subprime mortgages."

This is a big deal. "Losing the AAA stamp would cripple the bond insurers' business and throw doubt on the ratings of $2.4 trillion of debt the industry guarantees, causing as much as $200 billion in losses, according to data compiled by Bloomberg."

Meanwhile, back at the ranch. London Times (01.17.08):

"Merrill Lynch is expected to unveil a further $15 billion (£7.6 billion) writedown later today in what is forecast to be the US investment bank’s last significant provision against toxic sub-prime mortgage securities.

The figure, which is expected to be detailed in Merrill’s fourth-quarter earnings statement, follows Citigroup’s disclosure earlier this week that it will write off a further $18.1 billion against sub-prime exposures."

Merrill Lynch to unveil $15bn sub-prime hit

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