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Midday Wednesday: Stocks fall; pending home sales dial back

From Tuesday's close, U.S. bank and thrift stocks were down during Wednesday's morning trading, Dec. 28.

Around midday, the SNL U.S. Bank Index had fallen 0.40% to 539.21, while the SNL U.S. Thrift Index had slid 0.17% to 970.82.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 0.04% to 19,937.13, the Nasdaq composite index dropped 0.36% to 5,467.82, and the S&P 500 fell 0.27% to 2,262.70.

In economic news, the pending home sales index dropped 2.5% to 107.3 in November, as compared to 110.0 in October. The index reflected a 0.4% decrease from the year-ago period. The brisk upswing in mortgage rates and a lack of inventory that dispirited some would-be buyers may have caused the dip, according to the National Association of Realtors.

The nation's biggest banks also were lower. JPMorgan Chase & Co. dipped 0.15% to $87.00, Bank of America Corp. was down 0.33% to $22.53, Wells Fargo & Co. fell 0.39% to $55.73 and Citigroup Inc. slid 0.32% to $60.89.

Among notable movers in the banking industry, Capitol Federal Financial Inc. rose 1.74% to $16.95, while Bank of New York Mellon Corp. added 1.26% to $48.33.

In the thrift space, New York Community Bancorp Inc. was up 0.25% to $15.89, while BofI Holding Inc. slid 0.44% to $29.65.

In other recent news, Compass Point analysts pointed to Investors Bancorp Inc. as a possible suitor for Astoria Financial Corp., saying that a recent bank stock rally increases the chances of another bidder emerging.

Astoria Financial increased 0.03% to $18.60, while Investors Bancorp fell 0.25% to $14.06.

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