Banking stocks fell Thursday as analysts downgraded some regional names and Washington continued obsessing over how best to approach bank reform.

The KBW Bank Index fell 1.22%, to 51.63.

KeyCorp and Zions Bancorp. helped drive regional banking companies' shares lower when their ratings were downgraded by Macquarie and SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, respectively.

KeyCorp fell 4.3%; Zions, 1.98%.

Sheila Bair, the chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., said at a conference that she supports some parts of Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd's regulatory overhaul bill. Separately, some high-ranking Federal Reserve officials urged lawmakers not to strip the central bank of its oversight of small banks.

In economic news, the Labor Department said initial jobless-benefit claims fell last week.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.42%, and the S&P 500 index 0.09%.

Bank of America Corp. fell 1.10%; JPMorgan Chase & Co., 0.34%; Wells Fargo & Co., 0.85%, and Citigroup Inc. 3 cents a share, to $4.02.

BB&T Corp. was off 0.78%; Comerica Inc., 0.68%; Fifth Third Bancorp, 1.9%, and Regions Financial Corp., 2.65%.

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