Bank stocks and the broader markets rose on encouraging news Thursday from several industry sectors.
The KBW Bank index was up 1.91%, the Dow Jones industrial average 2.08% and the Standard & Poor's 500 index 2.14% on positive news from home builders and retailers, as well as a rise in crude oil and commodities prices.
"I don't think there's much in the performance today specifically focused on the banks — the banks are riding on the coattails of the strength in some of the other sectors," said Frank Barkocy, the director of research at Mendon Capital Advisors Corp.
Investors were also encouraged by a Commerce Department report that the gross domestic product shrank 5.5% in the first quarter, less than the previous estimate of 5.7%.
Investors ignored a Labor Department report that initial unemployment claims rose 15,000, to 627,000, in the week that ended June 20. Economists on average had expected a decline.
Bank of America Corp.'s shares traded in negative territory for most of the day but closed unchanged from yesterday's price of $12.35. Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke was grilled Thursday by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Affairs on his role in allegedly forcing Bank of America to go through with its Merrill Lynch deal last year.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. rose 2%, Wells Fargo & Co. 2.7%, PNC Financial Services Group Inc. 0.4% and U.S. Bancorp 0.2%.
Citigroup Inc. fell 1 cent, to $3.03 a share.
Among the regional banking companies, SunTrust Banks Inc. went up 0.5%, Comerica Inc. 2.7%, BB&T Corp. 2.3%, Marshall & Ilsley Corp. 1.5%, Zions Bancorp. 2.6% and Huntington Bancshares Inc. 4 cents a share, to $4.41.