Top Financial Stocks
Financial stocks have given up their early gains and are trading moderately lower Friday afternoon, At last look, the NYSE Financial Sector Index was falling about 0.3% while financial companies in the S&P 500 Index also were declining almost 0.3% lower. The Philadelphia Housing Sector Index also was almost 0.1% higher.
In economic news:
The price of US imports fell 0.4% during June compared with the prior month, marking the largest decline since February 2016, as fuel and other costs decreased. Petroleum prices shed 0.8% last month while fuel expenses slipped 0.7%. Natural gas costs plunged 6%, the fifth consecutive drop in the Labor Department survey for the commodity. On an annual basis, import prices were up 4.3% over June 2017. Export prices increased 0.3% during June following a 0.6% gain during the prior month, with rising non-agricultural prices more than offsetting falling prices for agricultural exports.
Consumer sentiment fell in the preliminary reading for July, also lagging Wall Street forecasts, as worries over international trade, rising inflation and the pace of growth weighed on public attitudes. The University of Michigan flash reading came in at 97.1, slipping 1.1 points from June's final reading but topping the 93.4 score during July 2017. Analysts polled by Econoday had been projecting a slight month-over-month uptick to 98.4.
Among financial stocks moving on news:
+ First Republic Bank ( FRC ) still was almost 1% higher, drifting south from a nearly 4% gain soon after the opening bell after the bank holding company reported Q2 net income beating Wall Street expectations. The bank earned $1.20 per share during the three months ended June 30, up from $1.06 during the year-earlier period and also topping the Capital IQ consensus by $0.03 per share. Revenue - calculated as the total of First Republic's net interest and non-interest income - rose 16% year over year to $744.1 but still lagged the analyst mean by $10.7 million.
In other sector news:
+ Brown & Brown ( BRO ) edged narrowly higher on Friday, stopping just a penny shy of its 52-week high of $28.82 a share, after late Thursday declaring a quarterly cash dividend of $0.075 per share, unchanged from its most recent distribution to investors and payable Aug. 15 to shareholders of record on Aug. 8.
- Apollo Global Management ( APO ) has turned negative again, falling back from a nearly 1% gain, amid reports the asset manager and CEO Leon Black are being sued by Caldera Holdings in a dispute over control of American Equity Investment Life Holding ( AEL ). The complaint was filed in the New York Supreme Court and obtained by Reuters, with Caldera accusing Apollo of conducting a campaign of "systematic defamation and interference" as well as "disparaging the company in the marketplace." Apollo, through its life insurance unit, and Caldera have been bidding for control of the annuities and life insurance carrier. Caldera is seeking at least $1.5 billion in damages, according to the filing.
- New York REIT ( NYRT ) dropped almost 3% to a record low of $17.51 a share after the real estate investment trust early Friday said Wendy Silverstein was stepping down as chief executive officer, president and board member and as an officer or manager of all the company's subsidiaries and affiliated entities. John Garilli was selected to assume the responsibilities of the CEO and president and will also continue as chief financial officer.