Merrill Lynch & Co. launched a new securities vehicle Friday that lets investors put money in 20 regional banks at once.

Regional Bank HOLDRs - which stands for holding company depositary receipts - are equity-like securities tied to the 20 banks' stocks. Each security is made up of 290 shares of stock, including 24 shares of Wells Fargo & Co., 25 shares of Fleet Boston Financial Corp., 33 shares of Bank One Corp., and 29 shares of First Union Corp.

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