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Hmmm! See the following (in order) and then perform your daily scan of the today's news stories. Your friends may think you have a crystal ball, or know a blogger that pursues the truth for a living...

  • Banks, Brokers, & Bullsh1+ part 1
  • Banks, Brokers, & Bullsh1+ part 2
  • The Riskiest Bank on the Street
  • Reggie Middleton on the Street's Riskiest Bank - Update
  • Excerpted from WSJ's Market Beat Blog:

    Banks Hammered On S&P Report

    Posted by David Gaffen

    The market's slump in the last half-hour can be attributed to more negative analysis on the banking sector, after Standard & Poor's lowered its ratings on several securities giants - Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., Merrill Lynch & Co. and Morgan Stanley.

    Lehman

    In its commentary the ratings agency said earnings improvement for the brokerages will not be as strong as had been previously expected. They lowered the "counterparty credit ratings" on the three brokerages, and moved several banks, including Citigroup Inc., to a negative credit watch, putting it on notice for potential downgrades at a later date.

    The securities firms have struggled since the blow-up of the subprime mortgage sector in the middle of 2007, and have since written off billions in bad debts related to securitizations of mortgages, as well as in other credit areas. The brokerages have attempted to assuage investors by raising capital, but S&P notes in its release that "the quality of capital has suffered in that much of the capital was in the form of hybrid securities."

    Bennet Sedacca, president of Atlantic Advisors LLC, notes in commentary today as well that these capital-raises have become increasingly pricey. "While the market has been open for those willing to raise money in the capital markets, it is open at stubbornly high rates," he writes