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Wednesday's Bank Stocks: FOMC announcement 'fairly bullish'

Bank and thrift stocks were mixed by close of business Wednesday,April 27, as the Federal Reserve left its benchmark interest rate unchanged. TheSNL U.S. Bank Index inched up 0.05% to 414.28 and the SNL U.S. Thrift Index slid0.42% to 798.12.

Fed policymakers announced they are leaving the federal fundsrate untouched after concludingtheir April meeting. The Federal Open Market Committee noted that labor market conditionscontinued to improve since their last meeting "even as growth in economic activityappears to have slowed."

TD Bank Group senior economist and director James Marple calledthe FOMC statement "fairly bullish."

"The emphasis was on continued improvement in the labormarket. It acknowledged the slowdown in household spending, but then was quick toadd that real income growth was strong and consumer sentiment remained high,"he said. "So all of that seems to say that they expect that to turn aroundin the near future."

Marple also noted that the Fed removed the reference to globaleconomic and financial developments posing risks. The message, he said, seemed tobe that rate hikes are still on the table for 2016.

The broader markets had a mixed reaction to the day's events.The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.28% to 18,041.55, the S&P 500 increased0.17% to 2,095.15 and the Nasdaq composite index slipped 0.51% to 4,863.14.

In other economic news, mortgageapplications in the week ended April 22 fell 4.1% from the week earlieron a seasonally adjusted basis, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported. On anunadjusted basis, the market composite index, which measures mortgage loan applicationvolume, fell 3% week over week.

Pending homes salesin the U.S. rose 1.4% month over month in March, reaching the highest level recordedsince May 2015, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Among large-cap banks, JPMorganChase & Co. rose 0.28% to $64.11, Wells Fargo & Co. ticked up 0.02% to $50.93 and increased 0.51% to$47.34, while Bank of America Corp.decreased 0.46% to $15.02.

Shares of several big banks fell after reporting quarterly results. EverBank Financial Corp was down 3.49% to $15.20, dropped 5.46%to $9.52, Capital One Financial Corp.shed 2.17% to $74.31 and SterlingBancorp declined 2.14% to $16.46.

Shares of State StreetCorp. climbed 2.32% to $63.93 as the Boston-based company reported net income availableto common shareholders of $319 million or 79 cents per share. This compares to $373million, or 89 cents per share, in the first quarter of 2015.On an operating basis, State Street recorded net income available to common shareholdersof $396 million, or 98 cents per share for the most recent quarter.

In Illinois, FirstMid-Illinois Bancshares Inc. agreed to acquire FirstClover Leaf Financial Corp. in a deal valued at roughly $90 million.First Mid-Illinois shares decreased 0.12% to $25.24, while First Clover Leaf soared21.66% to $11.83.

Among notable movers, Irvine, Calif.-based Opus Bank gained 4.95% to $36.67 and McKinney, Texas-basedIndependent Bank Group Inc.rose 3.75% to $36.76. Uniondale, N.Y.-based FlushingFinancial Corp. fell 2.33% to $20.54.

In the thrift space, Cleveland-based TFS Financial Corp. (MHC) decreased 0.38% to $18.12; SanDiego-based BofI Holding Inc.declined 0.41% to $19.43; Westbury, N.Y.-based New York Community Bancorp Inc. dropped 1.10% to $15.25;and Lake Success, N.Y.-based AstoriaFinancial Corp. was down 0.90% to $15.36.

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