The broad indexes ended mixed, after the National Association of Realtors reported total existing-home sales in the U.S. declined 0.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.59 million in February from an upwardly revised 4.63 million in January, but were 8.8% higher than the 4.22 million-unit level reported the same time last year.
Meanwhile, the Mortgage Bankers Association said Wednesday that mortgage applications on a seasonally adjusted basis fell 7.4% in the U.S. last week from the previous week, as interest rates climbed.
The KBW Bank Index (I:BKX) pulled back 1% to close at 49.90, with 21 out of 24 index components showing declines for the session.Regions Financial has now seen its shares return 50% year-to-date, following last year's 38% decline. The company expects by the end of this month to complete the sale of its Morgan Keegan brokerage subsidiary to Raymond James Financial (RJF) for roughly $1.2 billion. " Regions owes $3.5 billion in federal bailout funds received in November 2008, through the Troubled Assets Relief Program, or TARP. Following the completion of the Federal Reserve's annual stress tests last week, Regions priced a $900 million common stock offering, and said that including the offering's net proceeds of $875 million, the money from the Morgan Keegan sale and a full redemption of TARP preferred shares held by the U.S Treasury, the company's Tier 1 common equity ratio its Tier 1 common equity ratio would be a strong 9.1%, based on Dec. 30 numbers.