Cataclysmic changes occurred in the financial landscape last week. Lehman Brothers failed to find a buyer and declared Chapter 11, Merrill Lynch was bought for $50 billion by Bank of America in a total stock transaction and American International Group (AIG) was taken over by the Fed in an $85 billion bailout.
When 2008 opened, there were five major Wall Street brokers: Bear Stearns, Goldman Sachs, Lehman, Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley. Two are left now - but for how long? While Morgan Stanley reported better-than-expected third-quarter earnings, there were reports at press time that it was weighing the possibility of merging with a bank.