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Midday Friday: Stocks trade marginally higher

Bank and thrift stocks were trading marginally higher during morning trading Friday, Dec. 16. The week saw the Federal Reserve lift the target range for its key interest rate by 25 basis points, and market observers are now looking at the Fed's projections that there will be three rate hikes in 2017.

The SNL U.S. Bank Index was up 0.12% to 537.27, and the SNL U.S. Thrift Index added 0.49% to 975.05, around noon. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.07% to 19,865.61, the S&P 500 fell 0.09% to 2,259.96 and the Nasdaq composite index was down 0.20% to 5,445.31.

The nation's largest banks were mostly down. JPMorgan Chase & Co. slid 0.47% to $85.60, Bank of America Corp. declined 1.19% to $22.89, Citigroup Inc. edged 0.35% lower to $60.02, while Wells Fargo & Co. rose 0.10% to $55.24.

Among notable movers, First NBC Bank Holding Co. advanced 2.69% to $6.68, while United Bankshares Inc. retreated 4.60% to $46.12. Charleston, W. Va.-based United Bankshares on Dec. 15 launched a public offering of 4,330,000 common shares.

Among thrifts, New York Community Bancorp Inc. was up 0.88% to $17.23 and BofI Holding Inc. increased 0.18% to $27.17.

In economic news, housing starts for privately owned units in the U.S. decreased 18.7% month over month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,090,000 in November, the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reported.

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