CNBC reported Wednesday afternoon that Benmosche said he is "totally committed to leading AIG" in a memo to employees, helping AIG shares retrace most of their losses. Shares were still lower by 0.9% to $37.27, having fallen as low as $36.02 earlier in the session.

Elsewhere, Bank of America ( BAC), Citigroup ( C) and American Express ( AXP) traded higher one day after executives at each company offered remarks at a Bank of America Merrill Lynch banking and financial services conference.

AmEx Chairman and CEO Kenneth Chenault said the company's customers sparked a rise in absolute dollars in October, and reported billing was up 3% last month, according to a Dow Jones report.

Citigroup Vice Chairman Ned Kelly said the bank plans to repay government bailout funds through the Troubled Asset Relief Program as quickly as possible.

Also, outgoing BofA CEO Ken Lewis said the integration of Merrill Lynch is running ahead of schedule and will generate more expense savings in 2009 than the bank had originally anticipated.

BofA was climbing by 2.3% to $16.40, AmEx was rising 0.8% to $39.99, and Citigroup tacked on 0.5% to $4.20.

Among other bank stocks, Wells Fargo ( WFC) was higher by 2% to $28.66 while JPMorgan Chase ( JPM) slipped 0.1% to $44.13.

-- Written by Robert Holmes in New York.

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