Top Financial Stocks
Financial stocks were moderately lower in afternoon trading, including a nearly 0.4% drop for the NYSE Financial Index (^NYF) while shares of financial companies in the S&P 500 ( XLF ) were falling more than 0.4%. The Philadelphia Housing Index (^HGX) also slid almost 0.7% lower today.
In economic news:
U.S. employers added 134,000 new workers during September, missing estimates expecting a 185,000 gain although the nation's unemployment rate fell to 3.7% and beat the 3.8% consensus view. Average hourly earnings rose 2.8% over year-ago levels, the report said, in line with expectations.
Among financial stocks moving on news:
(-) JPMorgan ( JPM ) was nearly 1% lower shortly before Friday's closing bell amid reports the financial-services colossus is preparing to lay off about 400 mortgage employees as it grapples with slowing home sales and mortgage refinancings in key markets. Most of the job cuts will affect the company's consumer mortgage banking operations in Phoenix, Cleveland and Jacksonville, Fla., according to the Wall Street Journal, citing sources familiar with the matter.
In other sector news:
(+) Access National Corp ( ANCX ) climbed over 6% on Friday after the bank holding company agreed to a $610 million all-stock buyout offer from Union Bankshares ( UBSH ). Under the terms of the proposed merger agreement, Access investors will receive 0.75 of a Union share for each Access share they now own. Based on Union's most recent closing price of $29.19 per share, the deal values Access at $29.19 per share, representing an 8.7% premium to its Thursday closing price.
(+) LendingTree ( TREE ) climbed as much as 7% on Friday after the specialty lender late Thursday announced its $370.2 million acquisition of online insurance comparison website QuoteWizard.com. Under terms of the proposed transaction, LendingTree will pay $300 million in cash at closing and up to $70.2 million in contingent payments, subject to QuoteWizard.com meeting growth targets over the next three years. The deal is expected to close before the end of the year.
(-) Colony Capital (CLNY) fell almost 2% at one point during Friday's session after the real estate investment trust announced its purchase of a group of warehouse properties in the greater Atlanta area. The Atlanta NE/I-85 industrial portfolio includes nine class A warehouse properties totaling 890,920 square feet in Atlanta's Northeast industrial submarket.