NEW YORK (
) -- The nation's large banks came up losers on Monday amid summer trading doldrums and investor anticipation of a slew of economic reports over the rest of the week.
The broad indices ended lower as investors looked ahead to major economic events. For starters, the Federal Open Market Committee will meet beginning on Tuesday, and on Wednesday afternoon release its usual monetary policy statement.
has kept the short-term federal funds rate in a range of zero to 0.25% since late 2008. The central bank has also been making monthly purchases of $85 billion in long-term securities since September, in an effort to spur economic growth by holding long-term interest rates down. Investors have pushed the yield on 10-year U.S. Treasury bonds up to 2.59% from 1.70%, and recent comments from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke have led some investors to expect the central bank's bond-buying to be
curtailed as early as September
In a note to clients on Monday, Deutsche Bank's research team wrote "While we do not expect any material changes to the FOMC statement, we could see a formal update to the exit strategy principles originally laid out in the June 2011 meeting."
Then on Wednesday, the Commerce Department will release its advance estimate of second-quarter gross domestic product. On Thursday, the Institute for Supply Management will release its Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for July. On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics will release its unemployment report for July.
The rise in the market yield for the 10-year bond has done little over the short-term to expand banks' net interest margins. What bankers are looking for is a parallel rise in rates, which can only happen when the Fed relents and raises the federal funds rate. The FOMC has repeatedly stated that its "highly accommodative" monetary policy would be appropriate at least until the U.S. unemployment rate falls below 6.5%, barring a significant rise in inflation. The June unemployment rate was a stubbornly high 7.6%, so Friday could be a day of major market volatility, if there are surprises in the unemployment report.
Economists polled by
expect the unemployment rate for July to improve slight, declining to 7.5%.
KBW Bank Index
was down 1% to close at 65.39, with all 24 index components down for the session.
Big banks showing 2% declines included
(KEY - Get Report)
of Cleveland, with shares closing at $12.17, and
(RF - Get Report)
of Birmingham, Ala., closing at $10.06.
Large banks with losses of over 1% included
Bank of America
(BAC - Get Report)
, which closed at $14.52,
(MS - Get Report)
, closing at $27.31, and
(GS - Get Report)
, with shares closing at $163.17.
-- Written by Philip van Doorn in Jupiter, Fla.