Early Monday, analysts at both Keefe Bruyette and Friedman Billings upgraded Wells Fargo to market perform from underperform.

On the home-loan front, Bank of America ( BAC) announced it would modify about 400,000 mortgages to help borrowers who had taken out loans from Countrywide Financial, which BofA acquired on July 1.

Insurance company Hartford Financial ( HIG) said it garnered a $2.5 billion investment from Allianz ( AZ), is reducing its dividend and will register a third-quarter loss.

Money markets were strained. Bloomberg.com said three-month Libor, a measure of the cost of borrowing among banks, was at 4.29%, near a high last seen in January. Overnight Libor climbed to 2.37% from 2% Friday.

Outside the financials, Reuters reported that ImClone ( IMCL) agreed to a merger with Eli Lilly ( LLY).

Among technology stocks, online auctioneer eBay ( EBAY) said it would be cutting its staff by 10% and would buy online payment processor Bill Me Later.

Breadth was frightful. Decliners were trouncing advancers 32-to-1 on the New York Stock Exchange. On the Nasdaq, decliners were beating advancers 11-to-1.

In the commodities space, the price of crude oil was down $4.49 to $89.39 a barrel, and gold climbed $33 to settle at $866.20 an ounce.

Longer-term U.S. Treasury securities were climbing in price. The 10-year was up 1-8/32 to yield 3.45%, and the 30-year was climbing 2-18/32, yielding 3.95%.

Overseas markets were broadly falling. The FTSE in London and the Dax in Frankfurt were each down more than 7%. Asian exchanges, including Japan's Nikkei and Hong Kong's Hang Seng, closed on the downside.

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