Banking stocks rose slightly Wednesday after the government said it would extend the Troubled Asset Relief Program through most of next year.

The KBW Bank Index rose 0.07%, to 43.25.

It was a volatile day for banking stocks. The 24-bank KBW index rallied late in the session after Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner announced he would extend Tarp until Oct. 3, 2010.

Bank of America Corp.'s shares closed down 0.13%. The company repaid its $45 billion in federal aid but failed to name a successor to its chief executive, Kenneth Lewis.

Comerica Inc. rose 2.63% and KeyCorp 2.06% after their chief executives delivered some upbeat commentary at a high-profile banking conference in New York. Comerica's Ralph Babb said the company expects its net interest margins to improve next year on better loan spreads. KeyCorp's Henry Meyer said the company would be interested in buying a failed bank in its market.

Fifth Third Bancorp rose 0.98% after its CEO, Kevin Kabat, provided details at the New York conference on his company's exposure to commercial real estate. Fifth Third's loan losses may be peaking, he said.

Other notable gainers included Capital One Financial Corp. (2.69%) and PNC Financial Services Group Inc. (1.59%).

Decliners included SunTrust Banks Inc. (1.33%), Regions Financial Corp. (2.28%) and Marshall & Ilsley Corp. (5.53%).

Citigroup Inc. fell a nickel, to $3.86, JPMorgan Chase & Co. fell 0.05% and BB&T Corp. fell 0.08%.

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