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Thursday's Bank Stocks: Financials fall behind broader markets

Bank and thrift stocks closed lower Thursday, Feb. 22, a day after the release of January's Federal Open Market Committee minutes.

The minutes reveal Fed officials are mostly confident regarding the path of gradual interest rate hikes. But while officials believe the U.S. economy will be significantly boosted by recent tax reform legislation, they are uncertain about the magnitude of its benefits.

As of 5:37 p.m. ET, the SNL U.S. Bank index fell 1.06% to 641.97, while the SNL U.S. Thrift Index fell 0.92% to 947.97.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.66% to 24,962.48, the S&P 500 gained 0.10 to 2,703.96 and the Nasdaq Composite Index dipped 0.11% to 7,210.09.

The nation's largest banks ended the day in negative territory, as Bank of America Corp. dipped 0.56% to $31.69, Citigroup Inc. lost 0.97% to $76.27, JPMorgan Chase & Co. declined 0.18% to $114.98 and Wells Fargo & Co. contracted 1.54% to $58.81.

Among notable movers, Independent Bank Group Inc. fell 3.58% to $71.30, Simmons First National Corp. lost 2.88% to $28.65, Umpqua Holdings Corp. decreased 2.70% to $21.66 and Webster Financial Corp. shrank 3.83% to $55.54.

In economic news, initial claims for U.S. unemployment benefits dropped by 7,000 to a seasonally adjusted 222,000 in the week that ended Feb. 17 from a downwardly revised 229,000 the previous week, the Labor Department said. The four-week moving average stood at 226,000, down 2,250 from last week's level of 228,250, which also represented a downward revision.

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