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Tuesday's Bank Stocks: Lower after Yellen's speech

Bank stocks stalled Tuesday, March 29, after Federal ReserveChair Janet Yellen's speechat the Economic Club of New York.

The SNL U.S. Bank Index fell 0.63% to 380.33. The SNL U.S. ThriftIndex, meanwhile, gained 1.07% to 788.91.

The major indexes closed in positive territory. The Dow JonesIndustrial Average rose 0.56% to 17,633.11, the S&P 500 climbed 0.88% to 2,055.01and the Nasdaq composite index increased 1.67% to 4,846.62.

During Tuesday's speech, Yellen cited global economic risk in her discussion of expectationsfor interest rate increases, which have become more dovish compared to the FederalOpen Market Committee's December 2015 projections.

"Every time the Fed reduces their dot plots and as theytalk about the challenges that the economy faces, they are subduing any perceptionthat rates are going to move higher this year," said Marty Mosby, directorof bank and equity strategies at Vining Sparks.

Mosby explained that the upcoming earnings season will be "subdued"for financial institutions, but that he expects "surprising strength"in net interest income. "We'll get our first taste of what the 25 basis pointhike in December actually meant for the banks," he added.

In the broader U.S. economy, home prices continued to in the year ending January 2016,according to data from the S&P Dow Jones Indices. The S&P/Case-Shiller U.S.national home price index, which covers all nine U.S. census divisions, posted a5.4% year-over-year gain in January. The 10-city composite was up 5.1% for the year,while the 20-city composite recorded a 5.7% annual increase.

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index reached 96.2 inthe month of March compared to 94.0 in February. The Present Situation Index fellto 113.5 in March from 115.0 the previous month. Meanwhile, the Expectations Indexincreased in March to 84.7 from 79.9 in February.

Hancock HoldingCo.'s stock fell 3.51% to $22.85 following news that the Gulfport, Miss.-based company increased itsexpected provision for credit losses for the first quarter by $45 million. HancockHolding cited risk ratings downgrades on over $300 million in outstanding energycredits as well as the results of a shared national credit review. The company expectsits total provision for credit losses for the first quarter to be approximately$58 million to $62 million.

Among large-caps, CitigroupInc. lost 0.48% to $41.72, WellsFargo & Co. fell 1.33% to $48.05, JPMorgan Chase & Co. decreased 0.62% to $59.03 and slid 1.47% to$13.42.

Among other notable movers, Cullen/Frost Bankers Inc. fell 2.75% to $55.11, lost 1.86%to $7.90 and Comerica Inc.declined 1.76% to $38.01.

In the thrift space, AstoriaFinancial Corp. gained 2.46% to $15.83, New York Community Bancorp Inc. increased 1.92% to $15.91and Flagstar Bancorp Inc.rose 1.53% to $21.30.

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