A strong showing by some regional banks' stocks helped send the financial sector higher Wednesday even as the broader markets fell on disappointing economic reports.
The KBW Bank Index rose 0.48%, to 52.
Regions Financial Corp. was among the day's biggest gainers, with the departing chief executive, Dowd Ritter, slated to be succeeded Thursday by company President Grayson Hall. Its shares rose 3.02%.
Other regional banks that climbed notably included Fifth Third Bancorp, up 2.22%, PNC Financial Services Group Inc., 1.72%, and SunTrust Banks Inc., 1.71.%.
They stood in contrast to the companies in other sectors whose stocks fell after a report from the payroll services company ADP that private-sector employers cut jobs in March. Some economists were expecting job gains.
A separate report showed that manufacturing activity in Chicago fell more than expected in March.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 0.47%, and the S&P 500 index 0.33%.
Other large and midsize banking company stocks were mixed.
Bank of America Corp. rose 0.51%; BB&T Corp., 1.31%; Comerica Inc., 0.48%, and Wells Fargo & Co., 0.91%.
KeyCorp fell 0.13%; M&T Bank Corp., 0.48%; State Street Corp., 1.4%, and Citigroup Inc. 4 cents a share, to $4.05.