Bank stocks were unchanged Monday as sellers took profits from last week's gains.
"People have been selling so deeply," said Peter Green, chief technical strategist at Gruntal & Co. "It's natural for some to take profits and for others to do some bottom fishing."
Investors are waiting for the consumer price index, which is due out today, said Andrew Collins, a banking analyst at ING Barings, LLC.
Economists are not expecting much change in the index, which gauges inflation. "If the numbers are benign," bank stocks could become attractive again, Mr. Collins said.
"Bank stocks have been coiled since spring," said Richard Davis, chief of equity research at Tucker Anthony, Boston. "We're ready for them to pop up."
Right now, though, the stocks "could still be trying to find a bottom," Mr. Davis said.
The Standard & Poor's bank index was unchanged, and the Nasdaq bank index lost 0.21% The Dow Jones industrial average added 0.67% and the S&P 500, 0.23%.
U.S. Bancorp bucked the trend, rising 56.25 cents, to $32.50, following encouraging words from James Bradshaw, a banking analyst at Pacific Crest Securities, Portland, Ore.
U.S. Bancorp, an active acquirer in recent years, "has pieced together an impressive franchise broad enough to serve consumers and commercial customers," Mr. Bradshaw said. "By serving customer needs and positioning the franchise in rapidly growing markets, the company should be able to deliver remarkably strong financial returns."
"Like many banks that have been active acquirers in the last year, U.S. Bancorp shares have not performed well," Mr. Bradshaw said.
"Therein lies the opportunity," he said.