Shares of Bear Stearns Cos. slid 7 percent late Monday morning after the investment bank's co-president quit amid growing concerns about the company's mortgage investments.

Since hitting $172.61 in mid-January, Bear Stearns shares are down 42 percent, changing hands at $100.85 in Monday trade on the New York Stock Exchange. The decline has sparked speculation that the investment bank is a takeover candidate.

Warren Spector, who had been seen as possible successor to Bear Stearns Chairman Jimmy Cayne, quit the company as co-president and executive committee member on Sunday. His duties included overseeing Bear Stearns' asset management division, where two hedge funds recently collapsed.

Standard & Poor's on Friday warned of problems that could hurt the company's performance for an extended period.

(Reporting by Tim McLaughlin)