For the second consecutive day M&T Bank Corp. of Buffalo was the highlight of a tentative session for bank shares, as it announced stronger-than-expected second-quarter earnings to kick off the big-bank reporting season on a positive note.

M&T, the first of the 50 largest banks to report earnings for the quarter, posted a profit of $9.07 per diluted share, topping the $8.98 First Call/Thomson Financial consensus estimate. Shares of M&T jumped $14.8125, or 3.25%, to $470.5625, more than wiping out a decline of $3.25 on Monday, when the company announced an agreement to acquire Premier National Bancorp of Lagrangeville, N.Y. Denis Laplante, an analyst at the New York investment firm Fox-Pitt, Kelton, said M&T's slight downturn was predictable because of the deal announcement, and said its earnings report showed good results in loan quality and growth. "The fundamentals were better than expected," he said.

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