Shares of Bear Stearns Cos Inc fell 3 percent on Thursday afternoon after a CNBC report downplayed any talks between the investment bank and potential outside investors.

At present Bear is not holding talks about the sale of a stake to anyone, CNBC reporter David Faber said.

Bear Stearns shares fell as much as 3.4 percent immediately after the CNBC report before settling at $120.56, or down 2.5 percent, on the New York Stock Exchange.

In recent weeks, Bear Stearns' stock has surged and fallen on reports of potential outside investors, such as a Chinese bank or Billionaire Warren Buffett.

Battered by the collapse of two hedge funds and a disruption in its fixed-income trading, Bear Stearns is seen as relatively weak when compared to other U.S. investment banks.

An outside investor is seen as way to bolster the company.

(Reporting by Tim McLaughlin)