1. Merrill MishapMerrill Lynch ( MER) stepped in the subprime mess. The New York-based brokerage firm stunned investors Wednesday by reporting its biggest quarterly loss ever on a stunning 94% drop in revenue. CEO Stan O'Neal said the
2. WellCare's Rave ReviewsSuddenly, WellCare ( WCG) isn't doing too well. Shares of the Tampa, Fla., Medicare and Medicaid HMO plunged 63% Thursday after government agents
3. Dolans RejectedThe third time definitely wasn't the charm for Cablevision's ( CVC) buyout-obsessed founding family. This week, shareholders in the Long Island cable system operator shot down a $10.6 billion take-private bid from Chairman James Dolan and his CEO son Charles. The rejection, which came after some big investors said they didn't like the deal, sent Cablevision shares tumbling below $30 for the first time since March. The Dolans had offered in May to buy out Cablevision's public shareholders for $36.26 a share. The Dolans, who own around 20% of the company, presented the deal as an opportunity to shield Cablevision from the unreasonable demands of the securities markets. "The Dolan family founded Cablevision nearly 35 years ago, and we are very proud of the company's track record of delivering quality service and innovative products to our customers," the Dolans said in a May 2 statement issued by their lawyers. "We believe the best way to continue this tradition in today's increasingly competitive environment is as a privately held company." Investors have their own take on Dolan family traditions, however. One long-established practice is for the Dolans to announce a buyout of Cablevision at a low-ball price that fails to win over key constituents. This happened first in June 2005, when the Dolans floated a $7.9 billion buyout plan that was later sunk by the board. Unfazed, the Dolans went on to propose another deal in October 2006, at the same price. They even raised the ante on that bid by $1 billion before it too was shot down by the board in January. But given the Dolans' upbeat take on this latest rejection, there's every reason to believe they won't be discouraged by Wednesday's no vote. "While we are disappointed that shareholders did not approve the transaction," the Dolans said, "there is really nothing negative about today's outcome." Nothing but that big selloff in the stock. Dumb-o-Meter score: 88. "In fact," the Dolans continued, "in many ways, it is a very positive event."
4. Charlotte's WebCrashing Wall Street's party hasn't worked out for Bank of America ( BAC). It set plans Wednesday to cut 3,000 jobs, mostly from its investment banking business. The Charlotte, N.C., bank also is starting a strategic review of the unit. The firings mark an abrupt turnabout for CEO Ken Lewis, who had been spending furiously to make BofA a top player like Goldman Sachs ( GS) and Morgan Stanley ( MS). "The repositioning we are implementing will improve performance," Lewis said in a statement Wednesday evening. "We must have a platform that operates profitably for both our company and our clients." Despite its impressive-sounding name -- Global Corporate and Investment Banking -- the unit hasn't been operating very profitably of late. A $1.33 billion decline in third-quarter investment banking profit left Bank of America well short of Wall Street's earnings estimates earlier this month, punishing its stock. The shortfall prompted a telling comment from Lewis. Brushing off the prospect of further acquisitions, he told analysts last week, "I've had all the fun I can stand in investment banking at the moment." Good riddance, party poopers. Dumb-o-Meter score: 80. "You can't have business where you make money for five years and give it all back in one year," Lewis said last week.