Another cascade of depressing news as more and more financial and other groups are caught up in the imploding US subprime mortgage and housing sectors.

ETrade, the US online brokerage and financial services firm, has been hurt by big losses on subprime mortgages and its shares collapsed overnight, falling more than 50% in New York. The damage was done after the firm revealed in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission that it faces bigger losses on a $US3 billion portfolio of loans.