FirstFed Financial Corp. is looking to join the handful of other strugglers that have managed to woo investors in recent weeks. But as a California company chock full of option adjustable-rate mortgages, FirstFed could be the biggest test yet for the rebounding capital markets.

"I would say they are probably on the cusp between the ones who can raise capital and the ones who can't," said Bert Ely, an independent analyst in Alexandria, Va. "It is going to be a huge uphill battle."

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