Copyright 2010 MarketWatch.com Inc.All Rights Reserved
March 16, 2010 Tuesday 4:53 PM EST
SECTION: NEWS & COMMENTARY; Markets; Financial Stocks
LENGTH: 281 words
HEADLINE: Financials cheer Fed’s decision
BYLINE: Sue Chang, MarketWatch mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sue Chang is a MarketWatch reporter in San Francisco.; John Spence, MarketWatch mailto:email@example.com.
John Spence is a reporter for MarketWatch in Boston.
SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — Financial-sector shares closed higher Tuesday, cheered by the Federal Reserve’s decision to keep key rates unchanged in a bid to support the economy.
The Federal Reserve maintained its benchmark interest rate at a record low level and made no significant changes to the key “extended period” policy pledge, an indication that it believes the economy still needs help to get back on track.
The Financial Select Sector SPDR Trust (XLF) , an exchange-traded fund that serves as a barometer of financial shares, gained 1.2%, while the SPDR KBW Bank ETF (KBE) rose 1.8%.
Shares of bailed-out giant Citigroup Inc. (C) extended gains after the Fed’s announcement to rise 4.1% to $4.05, while Bank of America (BAC) strengthened 1.1% and Wells Fargo (WFC) rose 1.3%. Regional banks were also mostly in the positive territory, led by Zions Bancorp (ZION) , which jumped 4.6% and Regions Financial (RF) which rose 4%.
American International Group Inc. (AIG) shares, which had traded higher, retreated with its shares losing 2.1%.
The broader U.S. stock market was up about 0.8%, adding to gains after the Fed statement.
Earlier, the Commerce Department said housing starts fell nearly 6% in February as construction was stalled by bad weather across large areas of the country.
A standout was Financial Engines Inc. (FNGN) , which priced its initial public offering of 10.6 million common shares at $12 each.
Shares of Financial Engines, which provides retirement research and advice to U.S. employers and plan providers, surged 43.8% to $17.25.
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