Dumping troubled assets for pennies on the dollar may not be the way to bolster a sliding stock price, after all.
Shares of Merrill Lynch & Co. slumped Tuesday to their lowest closing price in nearly 10 years as investors continued to fret about how much the soft economy and a still-steep overhang of bad debt could weigh on the brokerage giant.
The stock slid 92 cents, or 3.7%, to $23.82, falling below its previous multiyear closing low of $24.33 set July 28 -- just before Merrill announced plans to unload mortgage assets once valued at $30.6 billion for $6.7 billion, or 22 cents on the dollar.
Analysts applauded the sale at the time as a healthy purging. But the transaction has had no lasting effect on the firm's moribund stock price.