CHICAGO - Nervous investors have distanced themselves from Midwest bank stocks following Banc One Corp.'s recent disclosure of a $170 million fourth-quarter charge for securities losses, even though no other bank in the region is expected to take a hit of that magnitude.

It is understandable that investors are tarring all banks with the same brush. There is so much diversity in the postures id reporting practices of various banks that comparing balance-sheet positions from one to the next is nearly impossible.

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