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Tuesday's Bank Stocks: Good news, low volumes push up equities

Light trading volumes amplified positive economic news Tuesday, Dec. 27.

The SNL U.S. Bank Index added 0.24% to 541.41, and the SNL U.S. Thrift Index expanded 0.58% to 972.51.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.06% to 19,945.04, the S&P 500 increased 0.22% to 2,268.88 and the Nasdaq composite index gained 0.45% to 5,487.44.

In economic news, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index posted a 5.6% annual gain in October, extending its all-time high from September. In October, the 10-city composite saw a 4.3% annual increase, and the 20-city composite ticked up 5.1%.

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index increased again in December, after posting a gain in November. The Index now stands at 113.7, up from 109.4 in November. The Expectations Index rose significantly to 105.5 from 94.4, while the Present Situation Index decreased to 126.1 from 132.0.

The upward movement of those figures coupled with low volumes and year-end positioning meant that it did not take much to nudge stocks upward, said Lou Brien, market strategist at DRW Trading Group.

"On the day, better data doesn't take much to move the market," he said.

In banking, JPMorgan Chase & Co. ticked up 0.09% to $87.13, Bank of America Corp. increased 0.04% to $22.61, Citigroup Inc. added 0.16% to $61.09 and Wells Fargo & Co. lost 0.02% to $55.95.

Bank of the Ozarks Inc. grew 1.85% to $54.42, Community Bank System Inc. rose 1.45% to $62.24 and Hilltop Holdings Inc. increased 1.07% to $30.14. Equity Bancshares Inc. declined 3.27% to $32.87 and Republic First Bancorp Inc. dropped 2.79% to $8.70.

In the thrift space, New York Community Bancorp Inc. rose 0.38% to $15.85 and Astoria Financial Corp. increased 0.27% to $18.60, while ESSA Bancorp Inc. sank 2.70% to $16.22 and Western New England Bancorp lost 2.60% to $9.35.

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