Banking stocks ended Friday largely flat after paring losses earlier in the day in response to more disappointing employment data.
The KBW Bank index closed down 0.07%, at 44.82.
The index fell to 43.72 — its lowest point in nearly a month — in morning trading after the Labor Department said the U.S. economy shed 263,000 jobs in September. The unemployment rate reached a new 26-year high of 9.8%, up from 9.7% in August.
Frank Barkocy, the director of research at Mendon Capital Advisors, said financial stocks were surprisingly resilient, indicating investors may have been enticed by the bargains available after Thursday's sharp selloff.
"It's kind of a strange performance," he said. "We had the group sell off this morning on the economic news and then, just looking at my screen, it looks like they are pretty much up across the board."
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.23%, and the Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 0.45%.
The financial sector's performance was mixed.
At least two names — U.S. Bancorp and BB&T Corp. — may have been bolstered by a positive analyst report. Analysts at KBW Inc.'s Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Inc. upgraded both companies to "outperform" from "market perform" while downgrading PNC Financial Services Group Inc. to "underperform" from market perform.
U.S. Bancorp rose 0.57%, and BB&T 4.62%. PNC fell 4.30%.
Other gainers for the day included JPMorgan Chase & Co., up 1.31%, and Bank of America Corp., 0.8%.
Losers for the day included Wells Fargo & Co., off 1.2%; Fifth Third Bancorp, 0.87%; Northern Trust Corp., 1.07%; and Citigroup Inc., down a penny, to $4.52 a share.