NEW YORK - Plaza Home Mortgage Corp., the holding company for a California thrift, issued 5 million shares of stock in an initial public offering priced at $6.50 a share.

The price was below the expected range of $8 to $10, underscoring the difficulty that mortgage companies have experienced in recent public issues.

Arcs Mortgage, a unit of Bank of New York Co., recently retreated from an initial public offering after investors would not meet its price.

Plaza is a major originator of mortgage, producing $2.8 billion of loans in the first half of the year. It sells virtually all its loans on the secondary market.

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