said it is cooperating with a
Securities and Exchange Commission
investigation of how it accounted for its business dealings in Argentina at the start of the decade.
The SEC "is conducting a nonpublic investigation, which the company believes originated with the company's accounting treatment regarding its investments and business activities ... with respect to Argentina in the fourth quarter of 2001 and the first quarter of 2002."
The probe relates a period in which Argentina defaulted on billions of dollars in debt and devalued its currency, forcing several U.S. banks into huge charge-offs and reserves. The SEC said it was looking at "internal controls-related information" for the three years ended in 2003.
The SEC will start hearing testimony in the investigation for later this month. The stock closed at $48.63 Wednesday, down 21 cents, or 0.4%.