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Wednesday's Bank Stocks: Slow day for bank stocks before Q3 earnings heats up

Banks stocks closed slightly lower Wednesday as the four largest banks in the U.S. prepare to release their third-quarter earnings Thursday and Friday.

The SNL U.S. Bank Index fell 0.31% to 581.29, while the SNL U.S. Thrift Index rose 0.14% to 948.87. The broader markets ticked up slightly, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average rising 0.18% to 22,872.89, the S&P 500 increasing 0.18% to 2,555.24 and the Nasdaq Composite Index rising 0.25% to 6,603.55.

Bank of the Ozarks, which reported its third-quarter earnings today before the opening bell, closed down 2.69% to $46.38. The company beat analysts' mean earnings-per-share estimate by one cent and reported a 26.3% year-over-year rise in its net income. On its earnings call, Ozarks' executives said the company had strong loan growth despite distractions. They also said the company is planning to open new branches over the next six quarters.

The biggest U.S. banks closed mixed on the day. JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc. fell 0.30% to $96.84 and 0.32% to $74.94, respectively. Both companies are expected to report their earnings Thursday before market open. Bank of America Corp., which is expected to report its earnings before the opening bell Friday, fell 0.39% to $25.83. Wells Fargo & Co., which also is expected to report its earnings Friday before market open, ticked up 0.09% to $55.66.

The Federal Reserve released the minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee's September meeting today. Fed policymakers believe that inflation should revolve around 2% in the medium term, making a December rate hike likely, according to the minutes. The Fed's language aligns with markets' expectations. The CME Group's FedWatch Tool estimates an 86.7% probability of the FOMC raising rates another 25 basis points in December.

Winners for the day were FFBW Inc., which rose 15.30% to $11.53, and Meta Financial Group Inc., which rose 9.40% to $85.00. FFBW began trading on the Nasdaq today after First Federal Bank of Wisconsin completed its mutual holding company reorganization.

For the losers, Popular Inc. fell 2.95% to $33.55.

In the thrift space, BofI Holding Inc. rose 1.70% to $27.46.

S&P Dow Jones Indices and S&P Global Market Intelligence are owned by S&P Global Inc.

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