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Midday Friday: Banks, broader markets up following jobs report

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Midday Friday: Banks, broader markets up following jobs report

After closingin negative territory Thursday,bank and thrift stocks moved higher in morning trading Friday, April 1.Around midday, the SNL U.S. Bank Index went up 0.29% to 382.51 and the SNL U.S.Thrift Index inched up 0.09% to 788.80.

The major indexeswere also in positive terrain, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average rising 0.26%to 17,731.05, the S&P 500 increasing 0.14% to 2,062.72 and the Nasdaq compositeindex advancing 0.43% to 4,891.02.

In economicnews, total U.S. nonfarm payroll employment increasedby 215,000 in March, while the unemployment rate increased slightly to 5.0%, accordingto the Labor Department's latest Employment Situation report. The expected month-over-monthjob gain for March was 210,000, while the consensus estimate for the unemploymentrate was 4.9%, according to Econoday data made available by Bloomberg.

The final March reading of the University of Michigan consumersentiment index came in at 91.0, down from 91.7 in February, Bloombergreported. The median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a Marchreading of 90.5.

Against thisbackdrop, Bank of America Corp.advanced 0.52% to $13.59, CitigroupInc. increased 1.27% to $42.28, JPMorganChase & Co. rose 0.88% to $59.74 and Wells Fargo & Co. inched up 0.09% to $48.40.

Middleburg,Va.-based Middleburg Financial Corp.saw its stock climb 9.72% to $23.70 in morning trading Friday. According to a Schedule13D filed March 31, David Sokol, Middleburg Financial's largest shareholder, senta letter to the company's board asking it to establish a special committee of independentdirectors to initiate a process to explore strategicalternatives to enable Middleburg Financial shareholders to realizethe full value of their investment in the company.

In the thriftspace, Westbury, N.Y.-based New YorkCommunity Bancorp Inc. declined 0.44% to $15.83 and Lake Success, N.Y.-basedAstoria Financial Corp.decreased 0.51% to $15.76. Cleveland-based TFSFinancial Corp. (MHC) advanced 0.49% to $17.45.

Market prices and index values are current as ofthe time of publication and are subject to change.