Top Financial Stocks
Financial stocks have turned lower in late trade, reversing a sizable mid-day rise. At last look, the NYSE Financial Sector Index fell more than 0.1% while financial companies in the S&P 500 Index were climbing slightly less than 0.7% in recent trade. The Philadelphia Housing Sector Index was down just over 0.1%.
In economic news:
Initial jobless claims fell to 222,000 first-time applicants during the week ended Feb. 27, down from a downwardly revised 229,000 claims during the prior seven-day period and beating the Econoday consensus looking for around 230,000 inital claims last week. The four-week average also declined to 226,000, stopping just short of the 45-year low recorded two weeks ago and was down around 13,500 individuals compared with the same week in January. The Labor Department also said continuing claims declined by 73,000 during the seven days ended Feb. 10 from the previous week to 1.875 million applicants while the four-week average fell by 16,250 to 1.927 million claims.
Among financial stocks moving on news:
(+) Hersha Hospitality Trust ( HT ) still was fractionally higher Thursday, maintaining more than half of a 1% gain earlier in the session, that followed the real estate investment trust late Wednesday reported adjusted Q4 funds from operations of $0.48 per share compared with $0.52 per share during the same quarter last year. Total revenue rose about 10.1% year over year to $122.66 million, matching the Capital IQ consensus.
In other sector news:
(+) VeREIT ( VER ) advanced Thursday, climbing almost 2% to a session high of $6.87 a share, after the real estate investment trust reported non-GAAP Q4 funds from operations matching analyst estimates and exceeding Wall Street estimates with revenue for the final three months of 2017. Excluding one-time items, the company generated adjusted FFO of $0.18 per share, rising a penny above its year-ago metric and in-line with the Capital IQ consensus. Revenue fell to $316.6 million during the three months ended Dec. 31 from $327.3 million during the same quarter last year and topping the $284.8 million analyst mean. Looking forward, VeREIT is projecting adjusted FFO in a range of $0.70 to $0.72 per share, straddling the $0.71 per share Street view.
(+) Barclays plc ( BCS ) rose Thursday after reporting a Q4 net loss of GBP0.07, or about $0.10, per share, reversing a GBP0.01 per share profit during the same quarter last year but still matching the Capital IQ consensus. Total income during the quarter grew to GBP5.02 billion from GBP4.99 billion last year, missing the three-analyst mean expecting GBP5.04 billion. The bank also said it expects its group effective tax rate in the mid-20% range following recent changes in federal tax law.
(+) Sandy Spring Bancorp ( SASR ) was fractionally higher Thursday afternoon, following analysts at Stephens raising their investment rating for the bank holding company to Overweight from Equal Weight previously.
(-) Welltower ( HCN ) fell Thursday, trading in a tight range either side of its break-even mark of $53.99 a share, after the real estate investment trust reported Q4 normalized funds from operations of $1.02 per share, slipping from normalized FFO of $1.10 per share during the prior-year period and trailing the Capital IQ consensus by $0.03 per share. Revenue edged higher compared with the same quarter last year to $1.10 billion from $1.08 billion last year and squeaking past the $1.09 billion Street estimate. For FY18, Welltower is projecting normalized FFO in a range of $3.95 to $4.05 per share. The company also will change its ticker symbol to WELL, starting next Thursday, Feb. 28.