Major banking stocks turned mostly lower on Tuesday after interest rats once again moved higher in the money markets, apparently frightening investors.

"Rates are always a factor for the bank stocks, but they are still not doing worse than the market today," said Kenneth F. Puglisi of the Chicago Corp.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 21.80 points, at 3742.63, as programmed selling hurt the market.

Among the banks, Chemical Banking Corp. was off 25 cents to $39, First Interstate Bancorp slipped 12.5 cent to $62.125, Fifth Third Bancorp was down 50 cent to $50.75 and Northern Trust Corp. lost 25 cents to $41.

Also losing ground were Wells Fargo & Co., down 62.5 cents to $121.875, J.P. Morgan & Co., down 62.5 cents to $70.50, and Signet Banking Corp., off 62.5 cents to $32.50.

A steep decline was posted by the Federal National Mortgage Association, off $1.625 to $77.375. Shares of the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp., also a government-related mortgage enterprise, were off 37.5 cents to $49.50.

Mercantile Announces Buyback

Countrywide Credit Industries stock was unchanged at $26.625, but shares of other mortgage companies were mostly lower.

Margaretten Financial Corp. slipped 25 cent to $13.625 and Fleet Mortgage Corp. was off 12.5 cents to $16.625.

Shares of Mercantile Bankshares Corp., Baltimore, slipped 37.5 cents to $18.625 despite a stock buyback announcement.

Mercantile said will buy back up to one million share in either the open market or private transactions, subject to regulatory requirements.

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