The KBW Bank Index spent most of the day in negative territory because of discouraging economic reports but closed on a positive note, up 0.17%.
The index ended the week up less than 1%. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 0.82% and the Standard & Poor's 500 fell 0.85%.
The Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary index of consumer sentiment in August fell to 63.2, from 66 in July. Separately, the Labor Department said consumer prices in July were unchanged from the prior month. The index rose 0.7% in June.
Economists at Wells Fargo Securities wrote in a note Friday that they believe the recession ended around the middle of this year.
"The ending of the recession is more significant to economists and statisticians than it is to ordinary citizens. However, most of whom will see little difference in their day-to-day lives," the economists wrote. "Unemployment remains high, incomes are basically stagnant and consumers and businesses remain very reluctant to spend and invest."
Decliners included JPMorgan Chase & Co., which fell 1.1%, Wells Fargo & Co., 0.5%, PNC Financial Services Group Inc., 1.6%, U.S. Bancorp, 0.3%, SunTrust Banks Inc., 1%, Marshall & Ilsley Corp., 0.8%, M&T Bank Corp., 0.4% and Citigroup Inc., 2 cents, to $4.04.
Gainers included Bank of America Corp., which rose 2.3%, Comerica Inc., 0.9% and BB&T Corp., 9.4%. BB&T shares rose after reports that the Winston-Salem, N.C., company had agreed to buy the deposits and branches of Colonial BancGroup Inc. in Montgomery, Ala., in a government-assisted transaction. Colonial's shares stopped trading in the morning.
Regions Financial Corp. rose 8.5%, after analysts with B of A's Merrill Lynch & Co. raised their recommendation on the Birmingham, Ala., company's stock to "buy," from "neutral."