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PacWest and Other Regional Bank Stocks Soar

Shares of hard-hit regional banks were recovering some of their lost ground in early afternoon trading Friday, though they were still on track to end the week nursing hefty losses.

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Bankers and government officials hoped the sale of First Republic Bank to JPMorgan Chase would draw a line under the crisis that began with the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank.

But investors have kept hunting for weak links, slamming shares of smaller banks and raising concerns of prolonged difficulties in banking that could drag on the economy. The pressure looked set to ease somewhat Friday. In recent market action:

PacWest surged 81% in early afternoon trading, after slumping 51% Thursday to close at its lowest level on record.

Western Alliance rose 38%, after a 38% decline Thursday for the Phoenix-based bank.

First Horizon and Zions gained about 4% and 17% respectively. Tennessee-based First Horizon had dropped Thursday after calling off its sale to Canada’s Toronto-Dominion Bank.

Los Angeles-based PacWest fell Thursday after saying it was in talks with potential partners and investors, and hadn’t suffered unusual deposit outflows. Still, investors seem to be preparing for things possibly changing very quickly, writes Heard on the Street.

Western Alliance had pared steeper losses Thursday after denying a Financial Times report that it was exploring a potential sale. A day earlier, Western Alliance had also said there had been no unusual deposit flows since the sale of First Republic.

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