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Merrill Launches $7B Debt Sale

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Merrill Lynch & Co (MER.N: Quote, Profile, Research) plans to sell $7 billion in debt on Tuesday, the latest example of borrowers focusing on fixed-rate bond sales as the buyer base for floating-rate debt shrinks.

Merrill' sale includes $1.5 billion of five-year notes expected to price at 325 basis points, and $5.5 billion in 10-year notes to price at 320 basis points over benchmark securities, said International Financing Review, a Thomson Reuters publication.

General Electric Capital Corp, a unit of General Electric Co (GE.N: Quote, Profile, Research), last week sold $8.5 billion of debt.

That sale included $2.5 billion of five-year notes priced to yield 2.05 percentage points more than comparable U.S. Treasuries; $4 billion of 10-year notes yielding 2.00 percentage points over Treasuries, and $2 billion of 30-year bonds priced to yield 1.994 percentage points over Treasuries.

The debt is set to be rated “A1” at Moody's Investors Service, and “A-plus,” the fifth highest rating, at Standard & Poor's and Fitch Ratings, according to IFR.

(Reporting by Walden Siew; Editing by Diane Craft)