Marshall & Ilsley Corp. will sell up to $350 million in stock directly into the market and said it could possibly use some of the proceeds to repay its funding from the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

Shares were recently down 4% at $8.50.

Many companies have been making secondary share offerings to take advantage of heightened investor demand for shares, but Wisconsin's largest bank will issue its shares directly into the market to be bought through broker transactions at prevailing market prices. Offerings are typically priced at a discount of as much as 10%.

Company spokespeople weren't immediately available to say why the direct-sale method is being used.

Marshall & Ilsley has struggled with heavy exposure to some of the most troubled housing markets and with its large exposures to commercial construction loans. Late last month, both Standard & Poor's Ratings Services and Fitch Ratings cut their credit ratings on the company amid credit woes and loan losses.

The bank said it will use the proceeds from any stock sales for general corporate purposes, and may give some of the proceeds to its units for their corporate purposes. Marshall & Ilsley also may use proceeds to buy back some of the preferred shares it issued to the Treasury Department as part of TARP. The company got $1.7 billion in funding last year from the effort.

Marshall & Ilsley's market value is $2.1 billion.

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