The market value of the nation's top 100 banks, after hitting $1 trillion at midyear for the first time, plummeted 23.3% during the third quarter as investors focused their global economic fears on the financial sector.

The slide broke a string of 14 quarterly gains for the industry leaders. The last time their aggregate market capitalization dropped was in the fourth quarter of 1994, when the Federal Reserve was raising interest rates.

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