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Published: Friday, 2/20/2009

U.S. stocks tumble but close well off lows


NEW YORK Stocks have extended their slide but regained some lost ground after the White House doused fears that the government would nationalize crippled banks.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Friday the Obama administration continues to "strongly believe that a privately held banking system is the correct way to go."

Shares of financial bellwethers Citigroup Inc. and Bank of America Corp. have plunged on worries the government will have take control and wipe out shareholders in the process. Citigroup fell 22 percent, while Bank of America fell 3.6 percent. But the stocks have been down as much as 36 percent during the session.

The Dow Jones industrial average is down 100 at 7,365. The Standard & Poor's 500 index is down 9 at 770, while the Nasdaq composite index is down 2 at the 1,441 level.

Declining stocks outnumbered advancers by about 3 to 1 on the New York Stock Exchange. Volume came to a heavy 2.11 billion shares.

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