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ING Shares Fall on Talk of Writedowns

Shares in Dutch banking group ING fell by as much as 6.5 percent on Tuesday on market talk of large writedowns, traders said.

ING said it would not comment on market rumours, but a spokeswoman said the firm was "perfectly aware of its obligation to report any material deviations".

The Amsterdam-based banking and insurance group is scheduled to report earnings for the last three months of 2007 and the full year on Feb. 20.

"There are rumours of a writedown of 6-8 billion euros at ING," said one trader. Other traders said the writedown was linked to the U.S. real estate business.

Stock in ING was down 1.7 percent. It was the third-biggest percentage loser on the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index, which was flat.

At the end of its latest reported quarter, Sept. 30, ING had 3.1 billion euros in exposure to asset-backed securities that had subprime mortgages as collateral.

ING also reported exposure of 26.9 billion euros to Alt-A rated debt, which is considered to be of a higher quality than subprime-backed bonds. Some 23.8 billion euros was held by ING Direct, ING's Internet and direct banking unit.

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