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Bank of America Slumps on Fed Confusion: Financial Loser

The S&P 500 fell slightly to $1,606.28 in Friday trading. Some bank shares were gaining Friday including those of Hudson City Bancorp (HCBK), US Bancorp (USB) and M&T Bancorp (MTB).

While Stein's comments may have been taken as a relief to investors and particularly bank investors amid a surge in interest rate yields, communications from Richmond Fed president Jeffrey Lacker fueled continued uncertainty over the central bank's easing efforts.

Lacker said during an economic outlook speech in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia to expect volatility to stay in the markets so long as the debate on the timeline for reducing the asset purchases was ongoing. Following up on Stein's views, Lacker said he was skeptical of the notion that there could be any additional benefits from the continuation of the bond buying and was more concerned about the potential risks tied to further balance sheet expansion.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury rose to 2.49%.

Economic numbers Friday were mixed.

The headline number on the Chicago Purchasing Managers Index release on Friday pointed to a deterioration in business conditions in the Chicago area. The gauge declined to a worse than expected 51.6 in June from 58.7 in May. On average, a drop to 56 was expected, according to a Thomson Reuters poll of economists. However, the employment index component of the report showed a rise to 57.8 from 56.9.

The final estimate on the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index came in better than expected at 84.1 in June vs. the prior estimate of 82.7. Economists had predicted no changes in the final estimate.

-- Written by Antoine Gara and Andrea Tse in New York.

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