Top Financial Stocks
Financial stocks were broadly higher, with the NYSE Financial Sector Index rising just under 0.4% while financial companies in the S&P 500 Index were climbing more than 0.7% this afternoon. Elsewhere, the Philadelphia Housing Sector Index was up about 0.1%.
In economic news:
First-time jobless claims stabilized last week, totaling 230,000 during the seven days ended Jan. 27 compared with a revised 231,000 applications during the prior week. The four-week average declined for a third week in a row, slipping to 234,5000 initial claims for unemployment insurance, or more than 5,000 fewer applications compared with month-ago levels. Continuing claims rose 13,000 during the week ended Jan. 20 to 1.953 mln, while the four-week average climbed by 12,000 to 1.933 mln jobless workers.
Also, Q4 rose at a 3.2% annualized rate compared with the prior quarter although it required 3.3% more hours to accomplish that feat, more than cancelling any productivity gains, falling 0.1%. Compensation rose 1.8% during the final three months of 2017, producing a 2.0% rise in unit labor costs during the quarter. Construction spending, meanwhile, increased 0.7% in December for a 2.6% year-over-year increase. Residential spending rose 0.5% last month and climbed a very strong 6.2% increase in 2017.
Among financial stocks moving on news:
+ Apollo Global Management ( APO ) rose more than 4% on Thursday, touching a session high of $37.25 a share, after the private-equity firm said its Q4 economic net income grew to $1.22 per share from $0.98 per share during the year-ago period and easily beating the Capital IQ consensus expecting just $0.66 per share. Revenue increased by 29.7% compared with the same period last year to $869.5 mln, also topping the $599.4 mln Street view.
In other sector news:
+ The Blackstone Group L.P ( BX ) rose to a 30-month high on Thursday, reaching its best price since July 2015 at $37.52 a share, after the alternative asset manager beat Wall Street expectations with Q4 economic net income, earning $0.71 per unit and topping the Capital IQ consensus by $0.04 per share. Revenue rose 19.7% to $1.88 bln, also exceeding the $1.73 bln analyst mean.
+ FirstCash ( FCFS ) was fractionally higher in recent trade after the pawnshop operator reported adjusted Q4 net income of $0.94 per share, surpassing the Capital IQ consensus by $0.09 per share. Revenue increased 3.9% over last year to $480.2 mln, also beating the $467.3 mln Street view. The company also declared a $0.22 per share quarterly dividend, up 16% over its most recent distribution.