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Midday Thursday: Markets rising as jobless claims spike, job cuts drop off

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Midday Thursday: Markets rising as jobless claims spike, job cuts drop off

Bank shares dipped a bit around midday Thursday, March 31,while thrift stocks were up along with broader markets. The SNL U.S. Bank Indexwent down 0.03% to 383.48 and the SNL U.S. Thrift Index ticked up 0.08% to793.30.

The broader markets moved higher, with the Dow JonesIndustrial Average advancing 0.15% to 17,743.68, the S&P 500 increasing0.13% to 2,066.63 and the Nasdaq composite index ticking up 0.32% to 4,885.11.

In economic news, the week ended March 26 saw an increase inunemployment insurance claims, with the advance figure for seasonally adjustedinitial jobless claims hitting 276,000, according to the U.S. Labor Department.The previous week's unrevised level was 265,000. The four-week moving averagewas 263,250, compared to last week's unrevised average of 259,750.

Elsewhere, Challenger Gray & Christmas Inc. reportedthat U.S. employers announced plans to trim payrolls by 48,207 in March, in theconsultancy's latest job-cuts report. The job cuts during the first quarterwere dominated by the energy sector followed by the retail sector, the reportadded. The March total is 21.7% lower than February's job cuts, and 31.7%higher than the job cuts announced in March 2015.

Among large-caps, JPMorganChase & Co. dropped 0.13% to $59.63, gained 0.18% to$48.74, Bank of America Corp.increased 1.41% to $13.67 and CitigroupInc. inched up 0.67% to $42.16.

In other banking news, Standard & Poor's RatingsServices on March 30 revised its outlookon San Francisco-based FirstRepublic Bank to stable from negative, and affirmed the bank'slong-term issuer credit rating at A-. First Republic was up 0.01% to $67.03,around noon.

Among notable movers, Lafayette, La.-based gained 2.53% to$51.51, while Allentown, Pa.-based NationalPenn Bancshares Inc. fell 6.30% to $10.78.

In the thrift space, Westbury, N.Y.-based inchedup 0.31% to $16.01, Cleveland-based TFSFinancial Corp. (MHC) increased 0.51% to $17.61, and Lake Success,N.Y.-based Astoria Financial Corp.ticked up 0.31% to $15.96. San Diego-based BofI Holding Inc. lost 0.93% to $21.23.

Market prices andindex values are current as of the time of publication and are subject tochange.