Annuities sold through banks hit a rough patch last year, but 2011 looks brighter, as interest rates begin to rise and the Dow Jones Industrial Average continues to improve.

The first half of 2010 saw sales at a five-year low of $2.2 billion, increasing to $2.6 billion in February and $3.3 billion in March—the highest level of the year, according to the Kehrer-Jackson Monthly Bank Annuity Sales Survey. But the second quarter was rocky, with sales tumbling 13%, to $2.8 billion in April and then jumping 18%, to a quarterly high of $3.1 billion in May. June's sales fell 8%, to $2.9 billion, but were still higher than April. For the second half of the year, bank sales of annuities ranged from $2.5 billion to $2.9 billion.

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