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Big Banks: Financial Winners

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Bank of America (BAC - Get Report), Citigroup (C - Get Report) and Wells Fargo (WFC - Get Report) were the bank stock winners on Monday, with shares of all three companies rising 2%.

Shares of Bank of America closed at $13.28, while Citigroup closed at $49.52 and Wells Fargo closed at $42.83.

With investors looking ahead to the beginning of second-quarter earnings season, the broad indices all advanced. The KBW Bank Index (I:BKX) was up 0.6% to close at 64.29, with 14 out of 24 index components showing gains. The index hit a new 52-week closing high, adding to Friday's 3% gain. Friday's strong action followed a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that the U.S. added 195,000 nonfarm jobs during June. The May job-growth figure was also revised upward to 195,000 from 175,000.

In a note to clients on Monday, Deutsche Bank analyst Greg Poole wrote that the year-to-date average monthly nonfarm jobs gain of 202,000 was "substantially better than the +94k (initially reported) three-month trend that had prevailed last September at the time of QE3, and therefore the latest labor news keeps the Fed on track to begin tapering in the current quarter."

The Federal Reserve has been making monthly purchases of $85 billion in long-term securities since September. The market has anticipated a curtailment of the central bank's bond-buying, by sending the yield on 10-year U.S. Treasury bonds to 2.66% Monday afternoon, rising dramatically from 1.70% at the end of April. The 10-year bond seemed to stabilize on Monday, with the yield dropping 9 basis points from Friday, when the yield had risen by 21 basis points.

Staying Neutral but Raising the Target

Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase (JPM) will kick off earnings season for large-cap U.S. banks on Friday.

The consensus among analysts polled by Thomson Reuters is for Wells Fargo to report second-quarter earnings of 92 cents a share, matching the company's results for the first quarter, but increasing from 82 cents a share in the second quarter of 2012.

A major concern for Wells Fargo has been the decline in mortgage loan refinancing volume. The company was the dominant U.S. mortgage player during 2012, with a 27.7% share of newly originated loans. Another threat to mortgage revenue is the decline in gains on the sale of newly originated mortgage loans to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as interest rates rise.
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