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Regions Financial: Morgan Keegan Loser

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Regions Financial (RF) was the loser among the largest U.S. banks on Tuesday, with shares sliding 5% to close at $3.59.

The Birmingham, Ala., lender has been trying to sell its Morgan Keegan brokerage subsidiary, reportedly seeking $1 billion for the unit. Reuters reported late Monday that with the sale dragging since Regions announced in June that it would "explore potential strategic alternatives" for the unit, 10 Morgan Keegan advisors have left the firm, taking at least $694 million in assets under management with them.

Selling Morgan Keegan is a key piece in an effort by Regions to repay $3.5 billion in government bailout funds received through the Troubled Assets Relief Program, or TARP, in 2008.

The broad indexes were mixed following bankruptcy filings by American Airlines and its parent company AMR (AMR). The world's largest air carrier has been unable to come to terms on a union contract with its pilots for five years.

The news out of Europe was also mixed. Italy completed ¿7.5 billion in debt auctions, paying 7.89% on ¿3.5 billion in three-year notes, which was the highest rate paid since September 1996, and compared to a rate of 4.93% on similar debt auctioned just last month, according to Bloomberg.

Moody's Investor Service said ratings downgrades were likely for 87 European banks, as the various solutions being discussed to resolve the eurozone debt crisis "have the common objective of reducing very significantly the support provided to creditors and leave subordinated debt holders particularly exposed to exclusion from any support received."

The KBW Bank Index (I:BKX) declined 1% to close at 35.63.

Shares of Morgan Stanley (MS) were down 4% to close at $13.31, following a Wall Street Journal report that the company, along with Bank of America and five other companies were negotiating with MBIA (MBI) to end a dispute over the bond insurer's 2009 restructuring.

Bank of America (BAC) closed at $5.08, recovering from its intraday low of $5.04, which was the stock's lowest level since the dog days of March 2009.

Large banks seeing 2% declines included First Niagara Financial Group (FNFG), which closed at $8.44; JPMorgan Chase (JPM), at $28.56; and Goldman Sachs (GS), closing at $88.81.

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