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Comerica 'Best Positioned' for Rate Rise: Financial Winner

Stocks in this article: CMAJWNPHMLENI:BKX

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Comerica (CMA) was the winner among major U.S. banks on Friday, with shares rising 2% to close at $42.57.

The broad indices ended lower, even though good economic news continued to flow.

The Census Bureau said housing starts during July rose significantly to an annual rate of 896,000 from an upwardly revised 846,000 in June. Building permits increased to an annualized pace of 943,000 in July from an upwardly revised 918,000 in June.

Some homebuilder stocks were strong on the news, with PulteGroup (PHM) rising over 2% to close at $16.28, while Lennar (LEN) was up 2% to close at $33.77.

The Department of Labor reported that non-farm business productivity in the U.S. rose by an annualized rate of 0.9% during the second quarter, after slipping by 1.7% the previous quarter. The agency said the productivity recovery during the second quarter reflected annualized "increases of 2.6 percent in output and 1.7 percent in hours worked."

The productivity figures followed Thursday's report from the Labor Department that first-time unemployment claims for the week ended Aug. 10 declined to 320,000 from 335,000 the previous week, and had dropped to their lowest level since late 2007.

Retail stocks continued to hold the market back. Nordstrom (JWN) was down 5% to close at $56.43, after the retailer late on Thursday lowered its full-year earnings and revenue guidance.

Investors also continue to worry about an expected reduction in bond buying by Federal Reserve, which has been expanding its balance sheet through net monthly purchases of $40 billion in long-term agency mortgage-backed securities and $45 billion in long-term U.S. Treasury bonds since last September.

In the firm's morning note, Deutsche Bank's research team said "Interest rates are going to continue to trend higher because the economy, in particular the labor market, is improving -- at least relative to what was the case when the Fed embarked on QE3 last September."

The market yield on 10-year U.S. Treasury Bonds was up six basis points Friday afternoon to 2.83%. The 10-year yield has risen from 1.70% at the end of April, as investors have anticipated a tapering of Fed bond purchases.

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