NEW YORK (
) -- Major financial stocks were little changed on Thursday, with continued signs of regulatory crackdowns and restructuring progress.
The KBW Bank Index closed down 0.4%, at 46.05. Large financial firms were a mixed bag, with few stocks moving far beyond 1% negatively or positively.
On the bearish side,
dropped 1.2% to close at $26.12;
fell 1.1% to $26;
Bank of America
fell 1% to $13.06. On the bullish side,
garnered the most traction, up 0.5% at $3.87;
both moved u just 0.1%, closing at $37.81 and $149.42, respectively.
A $203 million judgment against Wells Fargo for its overdraft-fee practices, which a California federal judge called "unfair and deceptive," continued to dominate chatter in the consumer-banking space. The decision was handed down late on Tuesday, and reflected widespread public anger about what consumer advocacy groups have characterized as predatory banking practices.
Recent changes to consumer-finance regulations prevents banks from pushing customers into overdraft protection unless they opt in. Yet the judgment against Wells - which collected far less in overdraft fees than competitors over the years - stirred up questions about what other banks may be targeted in civil litigation.
Elsewhere in the financial sector,
American International Group
was reportedly sniffing out suitors for an IPO of a major Asian insurance subsidiary. According to various media reports, AIG had contacted various institutional investors and wealthy foreigners to take a large stake in its AIA subsidiary ahead of an offering. Among those who may be interested in taking a piece of the pie are Temasek Holdings, China Investment Corp and Abu Dhabi Investment Authority.
AIG also announced on Wednesday that
Fortress Investment Group
plans to purchase 80% of its consumer-finance division, called American General Finance. All of the asset sales are part of AIG's plan to divest noncore businesses and repay its $70 billion debt to the federal government.
Despite news of the progress, AIG closed were down 2% at $37.10.
Indirectly related to the financial sector was news that GM may be planning a $16 billion IPO as soon as Friday - something set to deliver big fees for the investment banking community. Ahead of the automaker's return to the stock market, it has also reportedly cinched a $5 billion credit facility from big banks.
-- Written by Lauren Tara LaCapra in New York
Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks.