CHICAGO - Merrill Lynch & Co. - which is being acquired by Bank of America Corp. - fired more than a dozen public finance bankers and as many as 10 sales and trading professionals this week as the brokerage firm trims its ranks amid a grim economic outlook, several sources said yesterday.

The cuts come just a few months after Merrill added about 30 bankers from the shuttered public finance group of UBS Financial Services Inc. to its existing team of about 120 bankers. The cuts affect the sales, trading, underwriting, and banking groups, sources said. The sources, however, differed on the number of layoffs. As part of the cuts, the firm closed its Pittsburgh office, leaving its one banker there at the vice president level without a job, according to sources.

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