Many stocks of smaller banks, beset with lower trading volume, are at the mercy of market demand for liquid stocks.

Take Chittenden Corp., a $4.1 billion-asset bank holding company in Burlington, Vt. Its stock was trading at $27.6875 on Aug. 10, and surged more than 9.3%, to $30.375, by Aug 20. The rise outpaced the Nasdaq bank index, which rose only 2.1% over the same period.

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