Meanwhile, regulators are trying to quickly broker a deal for Washington Mutual, The New York Times reports. And The Wall Street Journal reports that the troubled savings-and-loan has approached private equity firms, including Carlyle and Blackstone, about a takeover. WaMu came under further pressure on Wednesday when Standard & Poor's slashed its credit rating deep into "junk" territory.
The Journal says Spain's Banco Santander has withdrawn as a suitor, and Canada's Toronto-Dominion Bank is only mildly interested. Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo are all reluctant to absorb WaMu's loans after conducting due diligence.
Charlie Gasparino reports that hedge fund executives claim several Wall Street firms are now marketing a new hedging product that would allow them to "short" stocks—even those on the banned short sale list.
What You Were Reading:
On the credit front, Freddie Mac reports that 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages rose to an average interest rate of 6.09 percent, up sharply from the 5.78 percent of a week ago; rates had fallen to a multi-month low in the wake of the government's takeover of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae earlier in the month.