Bank stocks beat the broader markets Wednesday as investors continued to pick up confidence — and bargains — within the sector.

The KBW Bank Index rose 3.54%, while the Dow Jones industrial average fell 0.42% and the Standard & Poor's 500 fell 0.29%.

"Banks have been strong for the past couple of weeks," and Wednesday's rise "is just continued strength," said Matthew Shields, a trader at FIG Partners LLC.

Gainers were across the board.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. rose 3.9%, Bank of America Corp. rose 6.5%, Wells Fargo & Co. rose 5.7%, PNC Financial Services Group Inc. rose 6.9%, U.S. Bancorp rose 5% and Citigroup Inc. rose 33 cents, to $3.58.

Among the regional banking companies, SunTrust Banks Inc. rose 3.5%, BB&T Corp. rose 2.2%, Comerica Inc. rose 4.4%, M&T Bank Corp. rose 1.9% and Regions Financial Corp. rose 15 cents, to $4.73.

The Institute for Supply Management's report that its services index in July fell to 46.4, from 47 in June, had a bigger impact on the broader markets. The news overshadowed a Commerce Department report that U.S. factory orders rose 0.4%, when economists on average had expected a 1% decline.

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