Scuttlebutt about derivatives losses and lending problems at Bank of America Corp. helped fuel a broad market downturn Friday.

Bank of America’s stock lost more than 7% in the first few minutes of trading Friday, as rumors swirled over losses stemming from derivatives trading and lines of credit to California’s utilities. After trading of B of A was temporarily suspended on the New York Stock Exchange, the Charlotte, N.C., banking company released a statement that said: “We know of no basis to support speculative rumors about our operations. We are conducting business as usual. And the company remains comfortable with its guidance for credit quality in 2001.”

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