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Last December, when the U.S. Federal Reserve raised rates for the first time in nearly a decade and projected four more increases in 2016, it seemed like good times ahead for the financial sector. Financial stocks typically benefit from higher interest rates, particularly at the long end of the curve. But it wasn’t to be, as rates remained unchanged and the yield curve failed to steepen through the first quarter, helping to lead to expectations for weak first-quarter earnings when financial stocks start reporting in a few weeks.