Banking stocks rose Monday as investors seemed to hope that the sector may get a regulatory reprieve as the Obama administration resumes its push to overhaul the health insurance industry.
The KBW Bank Index rose 1.91%, to 47.55.
Large and midsize banks rose as the president introduced his plans for overhauling health care, taking attention away from financial industry reform.
The broader markets were down slightly as investors anticipated Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's appearance this week before Congress, where he is expected to clarify what the central bank was thinking when it raised the discount rate last week.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 0.18%, and the S&P 500 index 0.1%.
Bank of America Corp. rose 2.08%; JPMorgan Chase & Co., 2.05%; Wells Fargo & Co., 2.34%, and Citigroup Inc., 1.17%.
SunTrust Banks Inc. rose 2.69%; PNC Financial Services Group Inc., 2.84%; Regions Financial Corp., 3.65%, and KeyCorp, 2.65%.