Bank stocks tumbled on Wednesday, snuffing an early rally after Bank of America Corp.’s afternoon announcement that its fourth-quarter earnings would fall well short of Wall Street estimates.

In a statement released ahead of an appearance by executives at an investor conference hosted by Goldman Sachs, the Charlotte, N.C., bank said it expects fourth-quarter earnings per diluted share to be between 85 and 90 cents. (See article on page 1.) According to First Call/Thomson Financial, Wall Street had expected B of A to earn $1.17 per share. The American Banker index of the top 225 banks ended down 2.07%, while the index of the top 50 banks fell 1.72%. The Dow Jones industrial average was down 2.14%, and the Nasdaq composite index ended down 3.22%, reversing its morning gain of 0.59%.

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