More write-downs to come

The Bear Stearns logo at Bear Stearns headquarters in New York City

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Scott Jagow: This isn't the first time foreign money has swooped onto Wall Street during a tough time. In the 1980's, Japanese investors came in with their strong yen and bought up real estate. For example, Rockefeller Center. Now, Wall Street banks taking huge losses are turning to foreign governments for cash.

We've told you about Citigroup's deal with Abu Dhabi. Yesterday, Morgan Stanley said it's getting $5 billion from the Chinese government. Morgan Stanley reported its first quarterly loss in 73 years. Today, Bear Stearns may post its first loss ever. Marketplace's Janet Babin reports from North Carolina Public Radio.


Janet Babin: Bear Stearns has already been hit hard by the credit crisis. Like Citigroup, Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley, Bear's taken huge write-downs due to bad bets on mortgage debt.

Economist Mark Zandi with Moody's Economy.com says more losses are on the way:

Mark Zandi: My guess is we're a third, maybe if we're lucky halfway through the write-downs, so we've got another 150 billion plus to go. That's a lot, and they are probably some institutions that are on the very edge of solvency, and no one really knows who's next.

One solution to the write-downs that's become popular with investment firms -- look overseas for a cash infusion. Yesterday, Morgan Stanley announced that a $5 billion investment from China would help shore up its books.

I'm Janet Babin for Marketplace.

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