Merrill Lynch & Co Inc Chairman and Chief Executive Stan O'Neal has told friends he expects to be ousted by the end of the weekend, CNBC television reported on Friday.

Merrill Lynch shares, down 35 percent this year, rose 6.6 percent, or $4, to $64.90 in early Friday trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

Merrill Lynch spokeswoman Jessica Oppenheim declined to comment on the report.

O'Neal is under fire from investors and employees after presiding over the company's biggest quarterly loss in its history. Merrill Lynch, the world's largest brokerage, wrote down $8.4 billion in the third quarter, mostly from bad bets on risky subprime mortgages and related securities.

The New York Times reported on Friday that O'Neal angered members of Merrill's board for floating a merger deal with Wachovia Corp without telling them.

(Reporting by Tim McLaughlin)