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Originally published Tuesday, March 8, 2011 at 5:13 AM

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Bank stocks push indexes higher; oil prices dip

Financial companies pushed stock indexes higher Tuesday on signs that banks may soon raise their dividends.

AP Business Writers

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NEW YORK —

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.

"Rapidly higher moving oil prices can substantially impact demand," said Oliver Pursche, president of Gary Goldberg Financial Services. It's something OPEC members are "very, very much aware of and want to avoid."

Oil prices have risen 9 percent so far this month. That has pushed stocks lower as investors worry that higher gas prices will dampen the economic recovery.

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.

Bond prices fell, pushing yields higher. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 3.54 percent from 3.51 percent late Monday.

Brown-Forman Corp. rose 4.7 percent after the liquor company said its net income rose 30 percent in the latest quarter thanks to growing international sales and a strong performance by its flagship Jack Daniel's brand.

Urban Outfitters Inc. fell 16.7 percent after the retailer's earnings missed Wall Street's expectations due to higher expenses.

Netflix fell 5.8 percent after Facebook announced that it will allow members to stream movies through its pages, a direct competition to Netflix's popular on-demand offering.

Three stocks rose for every one that fell on the New York Stock Exchange. Consolidated volume came to 4.3 billion shares.

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