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MERRILL LYNCH SENIOR DEBT RATING UPGRADED TO 'AA-' BY FITCH -- FITCH FINANCIAL WIRE --

 MERRILL LYNCH SENIOR DEBT RATING UPGRADED TO 'AA-' BY FITCH
 -- FITCH FINANCIAL WIRE --
 NEW YORK, Nov. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc.'s senior debt rating is upgraded to 'AA-' from 'A+' by Fitch. Also, the company's preferred stock is upgraded to 'A' from 'A-'. The credit trend is stable. Approximately $9.3 billion of debt and $200 million of preferred stock was outstanding at June 26, 1992.
 The higher ratings reflect increased evidence of improving credit strength due to a) a more stable revenue base with increased fee income; b) tighter expense control despite expanding business volumes; c) reduced principal risk taking activities; and d) more tightly controlled credit and market risk positions.
 Merrill Lynch's fee income has increased largely through client asset growth. Assets in private client accounts worldwide totaled $461 billion at Sept. 25, 1992, a 10.8 percent increase from a year earlier. For 1992's first nine months Merrill Lynch posted net earnings of $735.3 million and an ROE of 24 percent. Profitability is clearly improved and, while not necessarily sustainable at these levels, earnings should be better protected should market activity decline.
 In addition to the company's strong expense control, Merrill Lynch has a solid risk management discipline to mitigate earnings volatility. The company uses a risk-based approach to assign equity to each of its businesses, ensuring that risk-adjusted returns on capital are sufficient to meet company return objectives and to control risk taking.
 Merrill Lynch continues to maintain substantial liquidity at the parent company as well as its operating subsidiaries. Term funding maturities have been lengthened and liquidity is well managed while leverage has been controlled. Merrill Lynch's capital increased 33 percent from year-end 1990 to $4.3 billion at the end of the second quarter, mainly through retained earnings.
 -0- 11/2/92
 /CONTACT: Teri L. Seelig, 212-908-0638 or Nancy E. Stroker, CFA 212-908-0533, both of Fitch/
 (MER) CO: Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc. ST: New York IN: FIN SU: RTG


LR -- NY064 -- 1658 11/02/92 13:45 EST
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Date:Nov 2, 1992
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