Primary markets revival delayed as bank announcements drive jitters

Investors will be hoping the worst is behind them as banks reveal extent of subprime losses

Merrill Lynch topped a list of banks reporting worse-than-expected third quarter earnings and mark-downs of subprime assets during October.

On October 24, Merrill reported write-downs of $6.9 billion across collateralised debt obligations (CDOs) and $1 billion write-downs across US subprime mortgages, well above the $4.5 billion it had disclosed in a pre-earnings statement on October 5. The bank reported a pre-tax loss of $3.5 billion for the third quarter.

"We re-examined our remaining CDO

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