National City ( NCC), meanwhile, was among the multitudes of stocks weighing on the NYSE Financial Sector Index after a substantial number of brokerages cut their earnings estimates for the Cleveland-based bank. This comes a day after National said it will slash 1,300 jobs for a pretax hit of $200 million.

National City shares sank 1.1% to close at $26.38 as the NYSE financial tracker slid 134.75 points, or 1.5%, to 8802.96. The KBW Bank Index, of which National City is also a member, shed 1.3%.

Also suffering from downbeat analyst research was Bear Stearns ( BSC), which surrendered 2.1% after a Bank of America analyst downgraded the broker to neutral from buy and cut its price target by $37 to $126. The analyst cited Bear's heavy exposure to fixed-income markets, remarking that its stock looks like "dead money" over the coming year. Bear shares closed down $2.30 to $105.37.

American Capital Strategies ( ACAS) was also in the red after confirming it will offer 6 million of its shares -- a million more than it had preliminarily announced after the bell Thursday -- for $39.40 apiece. Underwriters have an option for 900,000 more in order to cover overallotments.

The offering is being made under the Bethesda, Md., asset manager's existing shelf registration. Shares closed off 3.4% to $38.65.

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