GOOD DAY FOR: Good timing, as Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain and trading division chief Thomas Montag are eligible for more than $47 million in combined payouts if they leave or are given lesser positions after Bank of America completes its buyout of Merrill. Thain joined Merrill last December, and could get vested shares worth $11 million; Montag, hired last month, would get $36 million in stock and stock options. (Bloomberg)
BAD DAY FOR: Washington Mutual, after Standard & Poors cut its credit rating to junk, following the lead of the other two major rating agencies. Washington Mutual dropped almost 27 percent, closing at $2 a share yesterday, before S&P issued its downgrade. This will make it harder for WaMu to raise capital, if needed; S&P said the thrift has enough capital and liquidity to survive for a while. (CNNMoney.com)
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
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