Bank stocks and the broader markets rose Wednesday on encouraging news from both China and the Federal Reserve.
The KBW Bank Index added 1.12%; the Dow Jones industrial average, 0.43%, and the Standard & Poor's 500 index, 0.5%.
The Chinese government reported that the country's industrial output and retail sales rose sharply, helping it meet or beat its projection of 8% economic growth for this year. Meanwhile, Fed officials in speeches across the country Tuesday had said that interest rates should remain low because the economic recovery continues to be bumpy.
"The Fed Reserve indicated that the yield curve will remain steep for an expanded period of time," said Gary Townsend, the chief executive of Hill-Townsend Capital LLC. "But I think most fundamentally affecting bank stocks has been the preponderance of positive news continuing to support the view that the economy is moving out of recession and that the fundamentals are improving."
Gainers included JPMorgan Chase & Co., up 0.3%; Bank of America Corp., 2.5%; Wells Fargo & Co., 2.5%; PNC Financial Services Group Inc., 1.6%; U.S. Bancorp, 0.3%, and — among the regional banking companies — SunTrust Banks Inc., 3.8%; BB&T Corp., 0.5%; KeyCorp, 1.2%; Comerica Inc., 2.4%; Fifth Third Bancorp, 3.3%, and Huntington Bancshares Inc., 6 cents a share, to $3.86.
The decliners included Capital One Financial Corp., off 0.1%; Zions Bancorp., 0.2%; Citigroup Inc., 2 cents a share, to $4.16, and Regions Financial Corp., down a penny, to $4.82 a share.