Top Financial Stocks
Financial stocks were mostly higher today, with the NYSE Financial Sector Index rising just over 0.4% while financial companies in the S&P 500 Index were climbing more than 0.8% this afternoon. Elsewhere, the Philadelphia Housing Sector Index was down about 0.3%.
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.
Among financial stocks moving on news:
+ Radian Group ( RDN ) was hanging on to 3% gain in late Thursday trading, with the mortgage insurance company overcoming Q4 revenue trailing Wall Street expectations. Revenue grew 15.9% over year-ago levels to $317.9 mln, lagging the Capital IQ consensus by $4.4 mln. Excluding one-time items, it earned $0.51 per share, up from $0.41 per share last year and beating analyst estimates by $0.07 per share.
In other sector news:
+ The Blackstone Group L.P ( BX ) rose to its best price since July 2015 after earning $0.71 per unit during Q4, topping the Capital IQ consensus by $0.04 per share. Revenue rose 19.7% year-over-year to $1.88 bln, also exceeding the $1.73 bln analyst mean.
+ Apollo Global Management ( APO ) rose over 4% on Thursday after today saying its Q4 economic net income grew to $1.22 per share, almost doubling up the Capital IQ consensus expecting $0.66 per share. Revenue jumped 29.7% over last year to $869.5 mln, also topping the $599.4 mln Street view.
+ FirstCash ( FCFS ) was fractionally higher in late 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 rose 3.9% to $480.2 mln, beating the $467.3 mln Street view. Also raises quarterly dividend by 16% over its most recent distribution to $0.22 per share.