the entire credit card group lower, after the company disclosed that its issuance and billing business practices were being investigated by Connecticut's attorney general.

Shares of San Francisco-based Providian plunged as much as 23% after the company issued a press release that stated it had been contacted "in connection with a civil investigation into credit card issuance and billing practices." The stock finished the day off $26.25, or 22.73%, to $89.25, following a rocky session in which trading was twice halted to meet buy and sell order imbalances.

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