Bankers Trust Corp. shares fell $5.50, to $51.375, Friday on a variety of rumors about the company's financial health.
One rumor had it that the Federal Reserve Board was forcing the company to sell, another that the company was so financially strapped that it was going to the Fed's discount window to get cash infusions.
A spokesman for the bank called the first rumor "a lie" and added that the company was a net seller of funds Friday. There was no market for Bankers Trust bonds Friday, traders said. The securities are considered quite speculative and their spreads are much like junk bonds, the traders said.
As Bankers Trust's public relations department denied the rumors, the company sent a memo to employees that discussed how to respond to "unfounded speculation" that Bankers Trust risks imminent failure.
The speculation "has caused concerns among some of our clients and counterparties," the memo said. "Such rumors can unfairly damage the reputation of the firm and should be treated as a serious matter."
The memo directed employees to refute the rumors by telling outsiders that Bankers Trust has "good liquidity" and that "asset quality is good." "Learn as much detail as you can from the outside party about the rumor and the source and promptly report it to a manager," the memo said.
Bloomberg News ran an item quoting Bankers Trust spokesman Doug Kidd saying the rumors were "baseless garbage."
Bankers Trust has been under fire from the investment community ever since mid-September, when the company said heavy losses from trading in emerging markets securities would force a third-quarter loss. Analysts estimate the bank lost up to $3.42 per share in the third quarter.