Merrill Lynch Announces $11.5 Billion Mortgage-Linked Writedown

New York–Merrill Lynch & Co. posted a much higher quarterly operating loss than had been forecast and announced a hefty subprime-related writedown on Thursday, CNNMoney.com reports.In addition to a $3.1 billion writedown on hedges with financial guarantors, Merrill said it would take an $11.5 billion writedown on its collateralized debt obligations and subprime home mortgages. Merrill also reported a loss from continuing operations of $10.3 billion, or $12.57 a share, for the quarter. The company had a loss of $9.91 billion, or $12.01 a share, on a net basis.Last year, Merrill posted a net profit of $2.3 billion.Analysts polled by earnings tracker Thomson Financial had predicted the nation’s largest brokerage would see a quarterly loss of $4.57 a share on revenue of $702.1 million, according to CNNMoney.com