11/10/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Morgan Stanley Under Assault

John J. Mack just cannot catch a break.

After briefly beating back those who would bet against Morgan Stanley, the humbled Wall Street giant that he runs, Mr. Mack was once again playing defense on Thursday. His bank came under renewed assault in the stock market, where its share price plummeted nearly 26 percent, to $12.45, the lowest closing price in a decade. Morgan Stanley plumbed the record lows reached in mid-September, when its future as an independent bank seemed in doubt.

The latest slide came on another brutal day for stocks, particularly financial shares. But it was the travails of Morgan Stanley that seemed to rivet much of Wall Street.

Once again, questions swirled about the fate of Morgan Stanley, despite the bank's efforts to quiet them. Short-sellers, those investors who wager against stocks, took renewed aim at the firm. At midnight on Wednesday, regulators lifted a temporary ban on short sales. Mr. Mack had angered many hedge funds by lobbying for the restriction.

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