NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Regional Bank stocks were strong on Tuesday, as Janet Yellen began her first two-day meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee since taking over as Federal Reserve chairwoman last month.
The KBW Bank Index I:BKX rose 0.5% to 70.76, with all but three of the 24 component stocks ending with gains. Comerica (CMA) of Dallas and New York Community Bancorp (NYCB) of Westbury, N.Y., were the sector leaders, with both stocks rising 1.1%. Comerica closed at $49.52, while NYCB closed at $16.28.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average
The FOMC is expected to continue winding down the central bank's monthly "QE3" purchases of long-term U.S. Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities, which ran at a pace of $85 billion a month from September 2012 through December of last year, with the pace declining to $75 billion in January and $65 billion in February.
Yellen has said the FOMC expects to wind-down the bond purchases by the end of 2014, economists believe will lead to a significant rise in long-term interest rates, although long-term rates have pulled back this year as investors' demand for Treasury paper has been strong. The market yield on 10-year U.S. Treasury bonds was 2.68%, down from 3.04% at the end of 2013, but up from 1.96% a year ago.