Top Financial Stocks
Financial stocks were broadly higher, with the NYSE Financial Sector Index rising almost 1.1% while financial companies in the S&P 500 Index were climbing more than 2.0%. The Philadelphia Housing Sector Index was declining nearly 0.2%.
In economic news:
First-time jobless claims declined by 9,000 applicants during the seven days ended April 7 compared with the prior week, falling to 233,000 although the four-week average ticked higher to 230,000 claims, or about 10,000 above the month-ago pace. Continuing claims also grew by 53,000 to 1.871 million workers receiving unemployment insurance benefits during the seven days ended March 31.
Import prices lagged expert opinion in March with no changed from the prior month compared with the consensus view expecting a 0.2% increase. Excluding petroleum costs, imports rose 0.1% last month. Export price rose an as-expected 0.3% in March following a 0.2% February gain. On a year-over-year basis, import and export prices both increased by 0.1 percentage points last month over February levels to 3.6% and 3.4%, respectively.
Among financial stocks moving on news:
+ Commerce Bancshares ( CBSH ) climbed to a record intra-day high on Thursday, rising more than 4% to a best-ever $62.08 a share, after the bank holding company reported Q1 net income exceeding Wall Street expectations. The company earned $0.92 per share during the first three months of 2018, improving on a $0.65 per share profit during the year-ago period and topping the Capital IQ consensus by $0.13 per share. Revenue, calculated as the sum of the bank's net interest income and non-interest income, grew to $312.6 million from $287.9 million last year but missing the analyst mean looking for $316.5 million in Q1 revenue.
In other sector news:
+ BlackRock ( BLK ) advanced more than 3% on Thursday after the asset manager recorded better-than-expected Q1 financial results, buttressed by growth in fees, a lower tax rate and rising technology and risk management revenue. Excluding one-time items, the company earned $6.70 per share during the January-to-March reporting period, up 28% over the first three months of 2017 and beating the Capital IQ consensus by $0.32 per share. Total revenue rose 16% year over year to $3.58 billion, also topping the $3.43 billion consensus call.
+ Aegon NV ( AEG ) was staying near its session high, advancing almost 2%, after the firm said it exercised its right to redeem all $525 million of its 8% non-cumulative subordinated notes due 2042( AEK ). The redemption of the grandfathered Tier 2 securities becomes effective on May 15 when the Dutch financial services company will repay the principal on the securities along with any accrued and unpaid interest and the 30-year notes will cease trading on the New York Stock Exchange.