Investor appetite for high-yield investments has helped boost the "toxic" assets of Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and other banks. The rally allowed the banks to sell the assets or book accounting gains. "There were some assets that had lost too much value six months ago, and investors are recognizing that," said Robert Smith, chief executive of Rangemark, which specializes in structured products. "Yet despite the rally, much of the collateral is broken, and banks and investors are still holding a lot of securities that even now may not have been sufficiently marked down."

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