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Thursday's Bank Stocks: Narrow range on last day of Q1'16

Bank and thrift stocks were down while the broader markets weremixed Thursday in what one analyst called a narrow range.

The SNL U.S. Bank Index fell 0.57% to 381.40, while the SNL U.S.Thrift Index slumped 0.58% to 788.12. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.18%to 17,685.09 while the S&P 500 decreased 0.20% to 2,059.74 and the Nasdaq compositeindex inched forward 0.01% to 4,869.85.

"This is a very narrow range today," said Lou Brien,market strategist at DRW Trading Group. He said he doesn't know if it is becausepeople have closed their books on the quarter, are waiting for the jobs numberstomorrow or are still trying to understand where the Fed is coming from. Eitherway, there is "really no trend," he said.

Among the big banks, WellsFargo & Co. fell 0.60% to $48.36 while Citigroup Inc. decreased 0.31% to $41.75 and was down 0.82% to$59.22. Bank of America Corp.rose 0.30% to $13.52.

In economic news, the week ended March 26 saw an increase ininitial unemployment 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 average was263,250, compared to last week's unrevised average of 259,750.

Challenger Gray & Christmas Inc. reported that U.S. employersannounced plans to trim payrolls by 48,207 during March, in the consultancy's latestjob-cuts report. The job cuts during the first quarter were dominated by the energysector followed by the retail sector, the report added. The March total is 21.7%lower than February's job cuts, and 31.7% higher than the job cuts announced inMarch 2015.

In M&A news, Luray, Va.-based Blue Ridge Bankshares Inc. agreed to acquire Martinsville, Va.-based in a stock-and-cashdeal valued at approximately $12.4 million, based on the 30-day volume weightedaverage price of Blue Ridge common stock, according to a March 31 news release.

Middleburg, Va.-based MiddleburgFinancial Corp. jumped 5.57% to $21.60, while Reston, Va.-based rose 3.28%to $19.83.
New Orleans-based First NBC Bank HoldingCo. fell 7.87% to $20.59.

In thrifts, Lake Success, N.Y.-based Astoria Financial Corp. fell 0.44% to $15.84 while Cleveland-basedTFS Financial Corp. (MHC)decreased 0.86% to $17.37.

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