"One of my first priorities at Merrill Lynch was to strengthen the firm's balance sheet, and today we have made great progress towards that by bolstering our capital position through these investments and our announced sale of Merrill Lynch Capital," said Thain in a statement. "The benefits of these transactions are not limited to strengthening our financial position. We also see significant benefits from partnering with Temasek Holdings given its sizeable investments across Asia, particularly in Singapore, China and India." In recent weeks, Morgan Stanley ( MS), UBS ( UBS) and Citi ( C) have all announced investments from overseas banks after taking big hits from the mortgage meltdown. News of the Merrill investment buoyed Wall Street on Monday, as major stock indices climbed early in the shortened Christmas trading session. Investors were reassured by the influx of capital abroad even as worrying signs of deteriorating credit conditions in the U.S. continue to emerge. Meanwhile, the American public has yet to come to terms with what such investments from foreign governments in major U.S. institutions will ultimately mean for the nation's economy.