(ETFC - Get Report)
writedown woes that sent the stock spiraling Monday have renewed analyst speculation about the possibility the online broker could sell itself.
E*Trade shares were rebounding almost 14% on Tuesday, after dropping nearly 60% on a string of bad news Monday and late Friday, including a Citigroup downgrade and accompanying note that said the company's bank was in
danger of failing
and the company's warning that it expected
to its $3 billion asset-backed securities portfolio.
While bargain hunters were returning to the stock Tuesday, analysts were focused on repercussions for the business -- including the possibility of a sale.
"We expect that the company is aggressively pursuing various alternatives to deal with the bank deterioration," Richard Repetto, an analyst at Sandler O'Neill & Partners, wrote in a note Monday. He downgraded the stock to hold from buy.
"CEO Mitch Caplan will pursue what's best for shareholders and would step aside/give up control of the company if an appropriate transaction was presented," Repetto added.
One possible buyer is rival
(AMTD - Get Report)
; market chatter this spring indicated it was in discussions with E*Trade over a possible merger. TD Ameritrade has been pressured by two big activist hedge funds to merge with an industry peer -- namely E*Trade or
(SCHW - Get Report)
Even without a sale, TD Ameritrade, Schwab and Fidelity could benefit from E*Trade's troubles by picking up retail brokerage clients. A spokeswoman for TD Ameritrade did not return requests for comment.