More bank, thrift, and financial companies moved to buy back shares Thursday as the market decline continued to pressure stock prices. Repurchasing stock bolsters share price, return on equity, and the value of employee stock options by reducing the number of shares in circulation.

Queens-County Bancorp, New York, authorized the repurchase of 500,000 shares; TCF Financial Corp., Minneapolis, recently bought about 300,000 of its own shares; and Merchants Bancshares, Burlington, Vt., said it plans to repurchase up to $2.2 million worth of its own securities through Sept. 4, 1999.

Jefferson Savings Bancorp, St. Louis, said it would buy back 300,000 of its own shares; Raymond James Financial Inc., St. Petersburg, Fla., approved the repurchase of an additional 1.4 million shares; and Provident Bankshares, Baltimore, approved a stock repurchase program for up to 5% of its common stock.

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