Merrill (MER) CEO Thain: It's Like 1929 Out There

Depressing day. More bad economic news, market off over 2.5% and some gloomy words from Merrill (MER) CEO John Thain, who compares the current economy to 1929.

Reuters: Merrill Lynch & Co Chief Executive John Thain said he did not expect the global economy to recover quickly from the credit crisis and that the environment more closely resembled 1929, the advent of the Great Depression, than recent slowdowns.

Speaking Tuesday at a financial services conference sponsored by his bank, Thain said credit remained constricted and asset prices generally were still falling, following the housing market collapse and a crisis of confidence.

These led to market-shaking events, including the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc , and Merrill’s own decision to quickly sell itself to Bank of America Corp for $50 billion.

“We are going to be in a very difficult economic environment for a significant period of time,” Thain said. He said the U.S. economy “is contracting very rapidly,” creating uncertainty “at least over the next few quarters.”

Meanwhile, the Dow is off 244 points, and the S&P 500 is down nearly 3%.


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