Apparently Merrill Lynch has been gorging itself on risk. And, it may cost CEO Stan O’Neal his job, according to Charles Gasparino on CNBC’s website today. Gasparino says O’Neal expects to be fired in “days” for allowing Merrill Lynch’s fixed income unit to run wild. The Thundering Herd (aka Merrill) reported $8.4 billion in write-downs of its mortgage-related holdings, asset-backed bonds and leveraged loans. Analysts are predicting another $4 billion in write-downs, says today’s Heard On The Street (subscription required). The New York Times reports today that O’Neal explored a merger with Wachovia—one wonders, out of desperation? We’re not surprised if he gets the axe for being at the helm of the firm when it recorded the worst loss in its 93-year history. Merrill’s shares are down by about 35 percent this year.

To shore up its balance sheet, The New York Post says Merrill may sell its stake in Bloomberg, estimated to be worth between $5 and $10 billion.