Mercury Finance Co. shares have fluctuated wildly since the subprime auto lender, citing an accounting change, revised 1995 earnings downward and raised its reserves against losses.

Shares in the Lake Forest, Ill., specialty finance company plummeted $1.875 to $10.125 on news Monday that it lowered last year's earnings to $98 million from $110 million and took a $20.5 million charge to bolster loan loss reserves to approximately $140 million from $93 million, according to company officials.

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