The broad indexes saw slight gains, after the U.S. Commerce Department reported that U.S construction spending during February declined by 1.1% from to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $808.9 billion, from a revised $818.1 billion in January. On a brighter note, the agency said that the February figure was 5.8% higher than the February 2011 estimate, and that during the first two months of 2012, construction spending totaled $111.3 billion, increasing 7.4% from $103.7 billion a year earlier.
Meanwhile, the Institute for Supply Management announced that its manufacturing index rose to 53.4 during March from 52.4 in February. Economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters were expecting a level of 53.
The KBW Bank Index (I:BKX) rose 1% to close at 50.03.Fifth Third's shares have now returned 14% year-to-date, following an 11% decline during 2011. The shares trade for 1.3 times the company's reported Dec. 30 tangible book value of $11.25 a share, and for 9.5 times the consensus 2013 earnings estimate of $1.52 a share, among analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.
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