Jefferies eliminated $1.1 billion of long positions and $1.1 billion of short positions, a 49.5 percent reduction in its trading portfolio of securities from Greece, Italy, Ireland, Portugal and Spain, the company said in a news release. [nBw075934a]
The remaining positions leave Jefferies with net exposure of $59 million, or 1.7 percent of its shareholder equity, according to the statement.
Jefferies said the transactions resulted in "no meaningful profit or loss."
"We undertook this reduction in our holdings solely to demonstrate the liquid nature of this market-making trading book," the company said.
The statement was the fifth Jefferies has issued about its sovereign debt since MF Global filed for bankruptcy on October 31. The MF Global bankruptcy raised concerns about some investment banks being small enough that governments will allow them to fail without jeopardizing the financial system.
Jefferies shares were up 1 percent at $12.20 shortly before noon in New York Stock Exchange trading.
Jefferies had $45 billion of assets at the end of August, about 5 percent as much as Goldman Sachs Group Inc <GS.N>.
(Reporting by David Henry in New York; editing by Andre Grenon)