The cost of protecting Countrywide Financial Corp. bonds from default fell the most in two months on optimism that a takeover by Bank of America Corp. will be completed, Bloomberg reports.

Credit-default swaps tied to the bonds of Countrywide's home-loan unit fell 85 basis points to 310 basis points, according to CMA Datavision, after the biggest U.S. mortgage lender agreed to settle three shareholder lawsuits challenging the sale. Bank of America said Countrywide President David Sambol will leave after the takeover instead of running the home lending operations as previously announced.

``It's being viewed by the market that the deal is coming along as planned,'' said Ricardo Kleinbaum, a credit analyst at BNP Paribas in New York.

Sambol, who has been a target for critics of the Calabasas, California-based company's loan practices and executive pay, will retire, Bank of America said in a statement today. Barbara Desoer, the Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank's chief technology and operations officer, will lead consumer real estate operations, reporting to Chief Executive Officer Kenneth Lewis.

A benchmark gauge of credit risk in the U.S. was little changed. The Markit CDX North America Investment Grade Index of 125 companies in the U.S. and Canada erased an earlier drop as oil prices climbed in New York. The CDX index was at 107 basis points at 2:16 p.m. in New York, according to Deutsche Bank AG.

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