Banking stocks edged up Thursday as investors absorbed mixed economic reports a day before the government releases unemployment data for February.
The KBW Bank Index rose 0.15%, to 47.43.
Financial stocks followed the broader markets higher as the Labor Department said jobless claims fell last week and the Commerce Department said factory orders rose in February. Those signs of economic recovery were tempered by a report from the National Association of Realtors that said pending home sales fell in January.
On Friday, the Labor Department will release February’s unemployment rate.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.45% and the Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 0.37%.
Some other developments boded well for banks on Thursday. Sovereign debt concerns eased as Greece successfully launched a sale of 10-year debt. The Treasury Department said it had taken in $1.54 billion in a sale of warrants it had received from Bank of America Corp. as part of the bailout program.
B of A rose 0.18%.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. rose 0.94%; Wells Fargo & Co., 0.82%; SunTrust Banks Inc., 0.91%; U.S. Bancorp, 0.37%; Regions Financial Corp., 0.76%; and Citigroup Inc. rose 3 cents, to $3.43.