Bank stocks and the broader markets rose Friday on positive comments about the economy by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.
The KBW Bank Index rose 2.59%, ending the week up 2.84%. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 1.67%, and the Standard & Poor's 500 index 1.86%.
In a speech at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City's annual economic symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyo., Bernanke said, "Economic activity appears to be leveling out, and the prospects for a return to growth in the near term appear good."
"Notwithstanding this noteworthy progress, critical challenges remain: Strains persist in many financial markets across the globe, financial institutions face significant additional losses and many businesses and households continue to experience considerable difficulty gaining access to credit," he continued. "Because of these and other factors, the economic recovery is likely to be relatively slow at first, with unemployment declining only gradually from high levels."
JPMorgan Chase & Co. rose 2%; Bank of America Corp., 1.9%; Wells Fargo & Co., 1.7%; PNC Financial Services Group Inc., 2.8%; U.S. Bancorp, 1%, and Citigroup Inc., 22 cents a share, to $4.70.
Among the regional banking companies, SunTrust Banks Inc. rose 5.5%; BB&T Corp., 0.9%; Capital One Financial Corp., 4.1%; KeyCorp, 4.5%; M&T Bank Corp., 1.4%; First Horizon National Corp., 2.4%; Comerica Inc., 1.2%; Fifth Third Bancorp, 4.8%; Regions Financial Corp., 6.7%, and Zions Bancorp., 3.7%.