NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Cullen/Frost Bankers (CFR) of San Antonio was the sector winner on a strong Thursday day for bank stocks, with shares rising 3% to close at $74.89, as investors cheered good economic news.
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That is a healthy pace for GDP growth, coming in slightly higher than the consensus estimate of 3.1% among economists polled by Thomson Reuters. The GDP growth declined from 4.1% during the third quarter.
Investors were clearly pleased with the mix of strong GDP growth, moderating inflation and even the slowdown in home sales, sending the KBW Bank (I:BKX) index up 1.1% to 68.36, with all but two of the 24 component stocks ending higher.
BMO Capital Markets economist Sal Guatieri in a client note earlier on Thursday stated the fourth-quarter GDP number was likely to confirm the Federal Open Market Committee's opinion "that growth in economic activity picked up in recent quarters." That language in the FOMC statement on Wednesday was changed from the language of several previous policy statements, in which the FOMC said the U.S. economy had been expanding at a "moderate pace."
The pace of GDP growth for 2013 was 2.7%, increasing from 2.0% in 2012. While the pace of economic growth accelerated, inflation was down. "The price index for gross domestic purchases increased 1.1 percent during 2013, compared with an increase of 1.5 percent in 2012," according to the Bureau of Economic analysis.