Merrill Lynch & Co. continued to dominate the underwriter rankings this year, retaining the top spot among senior managers for the third consecutive quarter, according to preliminary numbers provided by Securities Data Co.

As a senior manager, Merrill has handled 308 issues totaling $25.8 billion since Jan. 1. The firm began the year by edging out Goldman, Sachs & Co. for the lead position in the rankings during the first quarter and has since held sway over that slot.

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