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Thursday's Bank Stocks: Postelection exuberance stomps out year-end rally

Bank and thrift stocks, along with the broader markets, continued to decline Thursday, Dec. 29, following Wednesday's downswing.

The SNL U.S. Bank Index fell 0.92% to 530.88, and the SNL U.S. Thrift Index dropped 0.26% to 968.56.

Meanwhile, in broader markets, the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.07% to 19,819.78; the S&P 500 lost 0.03% to 2,249.26; and the Nasdaq composite index dropped 0.12% to 5,432.09.

R.J. Grant, managing director and director of equity trading at Keefe Bruyette & Woods Inc., said a mixture of year-end rebalancing and low market activity has left a "good amount" of stock for sale. Following a postelection rally, Grant said the consensus seems to be that there will be a "bit of a pullback" in January 2017.

"I really don't see any kind of real year-end rally," Grant said. "I think the exuberance post election kind of pulled forward that year-end rally a little bit, and it feels like we're kind of out of steam here as we head into the last few days. I don't think people want to go into the end of the year here with the market at all-time highs."

Among large-caps, Wells Fargo & Co. lost 0.87% to $54.84, Citigroup Inc. fell 1.10% to $59.38, Bank of America Corp. slid 1.48% to $22.00 and JPMorgan Chase & Co. slipped 0.71% to $85.89.

In the thrift space, Astoria Financial Corp. gained 1.41% to $18.73 and Flagstar Bancorp Inc. rose 1.58% to $26.93.

In economic news, unemployment insurance claims saw a decrease of 10,000 for the week ended Dec. 24, according to the U.S. Labor Department. The advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial jobless claims was 265,000, down from the the previous week's unrevised level of 275,000. The four-week moving average was 263,000, compared to the previous week's unrevised average of 263,750.

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