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Sector Update: Financial

By: MT Newswires
Posted: 9/12/2013 1:55:00 PM
Referenced Stocks: STSA;UMPQ

Financial stocks are mostly lower, with the NYSE Financial Sector Index declining 0.5% and the S&P Financial 100 Index sinking 0.6%.

In company news, Sterling Financial Corp ( STSA ) is up 8.7% at $28.86 a share, earlier climbing to within 12 cents of its 52-week high at $29.76 after agreeing to a $2-billion buyout by fellow regional bank Umpqua Holdings ( UMPQ ).

The cash-and-stock transaction has STSA shareholders receiving 1.671 shares of UMPQ common stock and $2.18 in cash for each share they now own. The deal is expected to close by next June, pending regulatory and shareholder approvals.

UMPQ Chief Executive Ray Davis will lead the combined banks while STSA Chief Executive Greg Seibly will become a co-president. UMPQ shares are down 3% to $16.45 apiece in afternoon trade.

Wells Fargo upgraded the insurer to "outperform" from "market perform", saying Allstate has several positive trends unique to the company in an industry where the outlook is upbeat overall.

In other sector news,

(+) CFNL, (+4.7%) Raised to Outperform from Market Perform at Keefe Bruyette & Woods.

(-) VTRS, (-3.1%) Asset manager prices 1.13 mln-share offering of its common stock at $155 apiece.