BALTIMORE - Mercantile Bankshares said its board authorized the repurchase of as many as two million common shares from time to time in the open market or in privately negotiated transactions.

A Mercantile Bankshares spokesman said the company had 47 million common shares outstanding on Sept. 30.

The company said the authorization to repurchase shares is in addition to a previous program to buy back 725,000 shares.

Mercantile said the repurchased shares would be used for the company's dividend reinvestment plans and stock-based compensation plans.

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