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Bank stocks push indexes higher; oil prices dip

Bank stocks push indexes higher; oil prices dip

March 8th, 2011 in News

NEW YORK (AP) - Financial companies pushed stock indexes higher Tuesday on signs that banks may soon raise their dividends.

Bank of America Corp. gained 4.7 percent, the most of the 30 stocks that make up the Dow Jones industrial average, after chief executive Brian Moynihan told an investor's meeting that the bank could earn more money over the next two years as its business stabilizes. That led analysts to note that large consumer banks may raise their dividends. Banks slashed dividends during the 2008 financial crisis to cut costs.

Financial stocks in the S&P 500 index rose 2.2 percent, the most of any of the index's 10 company groups. American Express Co. gained 3.5 percent, and JPMorgan Chase & Co. gained 2.6 percent.

Falling oil prices also helped stocks move higher. Oil prices dipped 0.5 percent to $105 a barrel after Kuwait's oil minister said that OPEC members are in informal talks about raising oil output as the conflict in Libya continues.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 124.35 points, or 1 percent, to 12,214.38. The S&P 500 rose 11.69, or 0.9 percent, to 1,321.82.

Energy companies were the only group in the S&P index to fall, losing 0.6 percent.

The Nasdaq composite rose 20.14, or 0.7 percent, to 2,765.77.