(ETFC - Get Report) CEO Mitch Caplan canceled a scheduled presentation at a major investor conference Wednesday, raising speculation about a possible sale or management change at the beleaguered firm.
Caplan was slated to speak at the Merrill Lynch Banking & Financial Services conference on Wednesday afternoon, but will no longer be presenting so that the management team can focus on fixing the problems at the company, a spokeswoman said.
lost more than half their value
on Monday after a Citigroup analyst suggested there could be a run on the company's bank. The speculation came after the New York-based firm announced late Friday that it will take
on its collateralized debt obligations, or CDOs, and second-lien securities portfolio.
Observers have suggested that the firm may need to sell certain assets --
or the entire company
-- to recover from the losses.
Typically, when a company executive cancels a major presentation to be given to investors, the perception is not good. Investors usually expect a major piece of news, such as an impending M&A transaction by the firm or that a management shake-up is about to occur.
Even as E*Trade shares spiraled downward on Monday, analysts renewed talk of a sale. Market chatter earlier this year had
(AMTD - Get Report)
and E*Trade talking about a possible merger.
"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," Sandler O'Neill & Partners analyst Richard Repetto wrote in a note Monday.