Wall Street banks fight to survive

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New York, Sept. 15 : Wall Street was in turmoil on Sunday as Merrill Lynch found shelter in a 44 billion dollar takeover by Bank of America and Lehman Brothers headed towards filing for bankruptcy.

BOFA'S bid for Merrill came as the world's top banks appeared close to abandoning efforts to save Lehman and set out to build a firewall against further financial chaos with a 50 billion dollar liquidity pool to support other vulnerable institutions.

The Federal Reserve was set to make it easier for financial institutions to access Fed liquidity by easing terms on its borrowing facilities and accepting a much wider range of assets as collateral.

The Fed meets to decide on interest rates on Tuesday. The moves capped a weekend of high drama that could lead to one of the most radical reshapings in Wall Street's history.

Monday's market reaction will be closely watched by regulators and banking executives to gauge investor sentiment towards the credit crunch that has wreaked havoc on the financial sector for more than a year. Futures contracts last night indicated that New York shares could open sharply lower.

ANI

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