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This paper investigates the optimal linear precoder design for packet retransmissions in multi-input-multi-output (MIMO) systems. To fully utilize the time diversity provided by automatic repeat request (ARQ), we derive a sequence of successive optimal linear ARQ precoders for flat fading MIMO channels, which minimize the mean-square error between the transmitted data and the joint receiver output. The optimization is subject to an overall transmit power constraint. This progressive linear ARQ precoder combines the appropriate power loading and the optimal pairing of channel matrix singular values in the current retransmission with previous transmissions. This optimal pairing is a special feature unique to our sequential ARQ precoding approach. Simulation results demonstrate the effectiveness of this optimized ARQ precoding in reducing symbol MSE and detection bit-error rate.