Merrill Lynch & Co. nabbed a 25% market share in its clear win of the first half's straight corporate debt underwriting contest, early IDD Information Services figures show.

Over all for the first half, the top 10 firms underwrote 1,071 straight debt issues totaling $154.2 billion, IDD said. That compares with 1,073 issues for close to $104 billion in the first half of 1991, said Maria Petraccoro, a research analyst at IDD. Though the number of issues remained almost constant, dollar volume jumped more than 48% this year compared with last year.

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