Regional Banks Stage Rally

Stocks have staged a modest late-day rally as oil has closed at the low end of its two-week trading range.

Also, BB&T, a large Southeastern bank based in North Carolina, is helping itself and other banks late in the afternoon. They are saying their capital position remains strong and they "anticipate some increase in the cash dividend during 2008."

Not only did BB&T rally into positive territory (it was down almost 10 percent), but other regional banks like Suntrustalso rallied modestly. Why? Because shorts keep pressing these names under the theory that many will follow KeyCorp and Fifth Third and cut the dividend; any indication this dividend cut is not a universal trend will cause shorts to engage in some covering.

Separately, there has been a modest move up in beaten up stocks like AIG,Home Depot,and Verizon. Don't want to make too much of it, but again shorts have been so successful pressing the markets that they are quick to cover.

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