Updated to include JPMorgan's announced plans for deploying excess capital through the first quarter of 2014.
The broad indices all ended with solid gains, after the Department of Labor said initial unemployment claims for the week ended March 9 declined to 332,000, from an upwardly revised 342,000 the previous week. The consensus among economists was for initial jobless claims to rise to 350,000. The four-week moving average for unemployment claims was 346,750, declining from the previous week's revised average of 349,500.
Bank stocks pretty much moved in line with the broad market, heading into the Federal Reserve's 4:30 p.m. EST, announcement of results from the Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review, which was the second half of the regulator's annual stress test process.The KBW Bank Index (I:BKX) rose 1% to close at 57.28, with all but five of the 24 index components showing gains for the session. The Federal Reserve last Thursday announced the results of the first part of the stress tests, with 17 of 18 large financial holding companies projected to continue operating through a severe recession beginning in 2013, remaining well capitalized with Tier 1 common ratios of at least 5.0%. The only company to fail the stress tests was Ally Financial. The CCAR applied the same "severely adverse scenario" for economic disaster to the banks' capital plans, which include requests for Fed approval for deployment of excess capital through dividend increases, share buybacks, or acquisitions. The Federal Reserve late on Thursday announced that it had approved 16 of the 18 capital plans submitted. Please see TheStreet's full summary of the CCAR results for more information on the big banks' announcements of dividend increases and share buybacks.
JPMorgan's shares have returned 17% this year, following a 36% return during 2012. The shares trade for 1.3 times tangible book value, according to Thomson Reuters Bank Insight, and for 8.8 times the consensus 2014 earnings estimate of $5.81 a share, among analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. The consensus 2013 EPS estimate is $5.48.