Credit and liquidity risk hammer earnings

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Firms began to file their third-quarter financial results in September, shedding some light on the true extent of losses arising from the commotion in global credit markets. Collectively, Bear Stearns, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers and Morgan Stanley, wrote down some $5 billion in assets during the quarter, according to Standard & Poor's (S&P).

The scale of these US losses fed intense debate among analysts about which of those firms still to report - especially Merrill Lynch, Deutsche Bank and

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