Most bank stocks were off fractionally on Tuesday. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 39.98 points, to reach 3,280.85.

Among the biggest losers on the day were J.P. Morgan & Co., down $1 to $61.50; Sun Trust Banks Inc., off 87.5 cents to $40; and Fifth Third Bancorp, down $1.25 to $50.75.

Premier Bancorp, New Orleans, gained 50 cents to $12.625 after it announced that it expects earnings to improve to $12.5 million, or 48 cents a share, in the quarter.

Shares in Bank South Corp., Atlanta, surged $1.25 to $11.125 after Fox-Pitt, Kelton Inc. repeated a buy recommendation.

North Fork Bancorp, Mattituck, N.Y., finished the day unchanged at $8.50, after heavy trading took the stock as high as $9.50. Bank officials said they knew of no reason for a recent rise in the share price, predicting a modest profit at best for the quarter and denying that there have been takeover offers.

Also resisting the downward trend was CoreStates Financial Corp., Philadelphia, which rose 75 cents, to $50.125, in late trading.

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