Top Financial Stocks
Financial stocks were ending mostly lower, with the NYSE Financial Sector Index dropping nearly 0.6% while financial companies in the S&P 500 Index were falling slightly more than 0.7%. The Philadelphia Housing Sector Index was recently more than 1.1% higher.
Among financial stocks moving on news:
+ AmTrust Financial Services ( AFSI ) was over 2% higher in late Friday trading, roughly halving its more than 4% advance that followed billionaire investor Carl Icahn late Thursday going public with his opposition to a proposed going-private transaction led by Amtrust CEO and board chairman Barry Zyskind, together with other family members and Stone Point Capital LLC. According to a regulatory filing, Icahn - who through his Icahn Capital affiliate owns over 18.4 million Amtrust shares, or about 9.38% of its outstanding stock - Thursday sent a letter to Amtrust management detailing his opposition to the $13.50-a-share buyout offer, arguing the proposal treats non-controlling shareholders unfairly, "both in terms of process and price." In particular, Ichan said the April 5 record date for shareholders to be eligible for a scheduled June 4 vote disadvantages investors who purchased millions of Amtrust shares during the month of April without knowing the record date had already passed and later adding he also was exploring potential legal remedies "to correcct the manifast injustice."
In other sector news:
- Brookfield Property Partners (BPY,BPY-UN.TO) was fractionally lower Friday afternoon, giving back a nearly 1% advance soon after the opening bell, that followed reports the Canadian commercial real estate company is discussing a bailout of a 41-story Manhattan office tower owned by the family of White House senior advisor and presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner. Brookfield would oversee "a significant" redevelopment of 666 Fifth Avenue if a deal is reached, according to the New York Times, which first reported the discussions between Brookfield and Charles Kushner, the head of the Kushner Companies and Jared's father. The younger Kushner paid $1.8 billion in 2007 for the building, and the family has a $1.2 billion mortgage payment coming due next February, triggering the very public search for partners with deep pockets.
- Apollo Investment ( AINV ) was slightly lower on Friday, paring a more than 1% decline earlier in the session, that followed the asset manager reporting fiscal Q4 financial results trailing Wall Street expectations and also naming a new chief executive officer. The company earned $0.15 per share during the three months ended March 31, trailing the Capital IQ consensus by $0.01 per share. It also recorded $61.5 million in total investment income for the January-to-March fiscal period, down from $66.3 million during the year-ago period and also lagging the $63.8 million analyst mean. The company Friday promoted its president, Howard Widra, to CEO, replacing James Zelter, who will remain a director on the Apollo Investment board. Chief investment officer Tanner Powell will assume Widra's former responsibilities as company president.
- First Bank ( FRBA ) retreated Friday, sliding almost 2% to a session low of $13.90 a share, after the state-chartered bank holding company said it has begun an at-the-market offering of up to 2 million shares of its common stock. First Bank said it expects to net proceeds from the offering for general corporate purposes, including the support of additional growth.