Two former Bear Stearns Cos. hedge fund managers were found not guilty of misleading investors, in the first major test of a U.S. effort to obtain convictions tied to the subprime mortgage crisis.

A jury deliberated less than a day before reaching a verdict Tuesday. The managers went on trial Oct. 13 on charges of conspiracy, securities fraud and wire fraud after being indicted by a federal grand jury in June 2008. The acquittal may make it more difficult for the Justice Department to bring additional prosecutions related to the subprime market.

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