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Monday's Bank Stocks: Markets step back to open week

Bank and thrift stocks lost ground to open the week's trading Monday, Jan. 23, as broader markets pared losses but closed lower after spending much of the trading session in negative territory.

The SNL U.S. Bank Index fell 0.52% to 521.18 and the SNL U.S. Thrift Index closed 0.15% lower to 939.10.

Broader equity markets pared losses after spending most of the territory trading well below the session open. After the strong rally spurred by the U.S. election results, markets are now taking an extended breather as they weigh both the timing and the ultimate impact of expected policy changes from the new presidetnial administration and Republican legislative majority. "There's a realization that the things the market is expecting could take awhile," Art Hogan, the chief market strategist with Wunderlich Securities, said, pointing to tax reform and infrastructure spending as two examples.

Some areas of broader markets may also be reflecting jitters about the effects of President Trump's moves to take tougher trade stances. Trump signed an executive order on Monday formally withdrawing the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, and also said he plans to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA. During a meeting with business leaders at the White House, Trump also promised steep penalties for companies that move jobs overseas, though he has also said that he will negotiate more favorable bilateral trade deals for the U.S.

"Parts of that are looked upon as protectionist, and the market never looks upon that favorably, but again ... we don't know what's going to replace [those deals]," Hogan said.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.14% to 19,799.85, the Nasdaq composite index dipped 0.04% to 5,552.94, and the S&P 500 retreated 0.27% to 2,265.20.

The banking industry's biggest names were mostly lower by the close of trading. Wells Fargo & Co. fell 1.49% to $54.25, Citigroup Inc. fell 0.77% to $55.68, Bank of America Corp. dropped 0.35% to $22.56 and U.S. Bancorp lost 0.45% to $50.97.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. shares edged 0.05% higher, to $83.71.

Zions Bancorp. shares ended the day down 0.35% to $42.31. The company reported fourth-quarter 2016 net earnings of $125 million, or 60 cents per diluted common share, Monday afternoon.

Banc of California Inc. shares tumbled 9.29% to $14.65, following news that Chairman and CEO Steven Sugarman resigned from the Irvine, Calif.-based company. Sugarman comes as the SEC begins an investigation into allegations that several company senior executives and board members have ties with Jason Galanis, who has been charged with market manipulation and several counts of fraud.

Shares of Pinnacle Financial Partners Inc. rose 1.50% to $64.25 after the company announced it would buy BNC Bancorp in a deal valued at approximately $35.70 per share, or a total of $1.9 billion. Shares of BNC Bancorp gained 0.45% to $33.35 obn the day.

Among thrifts, New York Community Bancorp Inc. gained 1.33% to $16.02, while TFS Financial Corp. (MHC) shares were unchanged at $18.25.

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