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Midday Friday: Bank shares retreat

Following yesterday's gains, U.S. bank and thrift stocks were trading in the negative territory around midday on Friday, March 31. The broader markets were mixed.

The SNL U.S. Bank Index was down 0.54% to 538.68, and the SNL U.S. Thrift Index decreased 0.23% to 923.44. The Dow Jones Industrial Average retreated 0.18% to 20,690.40, the Nasdaq composite index increased 0.07% to 5,918.75, and the S&P 500 edged 0.04% lower to 2,367.16.

The nation's biggest banks were moving lower this morning. JPMorgan Chase & Co. fell 1.13% to $88.03, Bank of America Corp. was down 0.04% to $23.86, Citigroup Inc. decreased 0.36% to $60.29, and Wells Fargo & Co. shed 0.50% to $55.96.

In other banking news, Colony Bankcorp Inc. plans to pay $9.36 million to redeem the remaining outstanding 9,360 shares of its cumulative perpetual preferred stock, originally issued under the U.S. Treasury Department's Troubled Asset Repurchase Plan. The company was trading 1.09% higher at $13.95 around noon.

Among other price movers, Norwood Financial Corp. soared 9.00% to $42.50, Two River Bancorp added 1.90% to $17.67, while United Bancorp Inc. dropped 3.56% to $12.20.

In the thrift space, the New York Post reported that BofI Holding Inc. and its CEO Gregory Garrabrants are under federal investigation for money laundering, with part of the probe centered on regulatory documents the San Diego-based bank filed with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, citing four people "familiar with the matter." The company issued a statement calling the story "factually inaccurate and substantively misleading." The company shares slid 1.12% to $27.28, around noon.

In economic news, the final reading of the University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index showed a 0.6% month-over-month increase to 96.9 in March from 96.3 in February. The March reading was 6.5% higher year over year.

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