Top Financial Stocks
Financial stocks were ending moderately lower Tuesday, reversing a small gain earlier today. At last look, the NYSE Financial Sector Index was down less than 0.1% while financial companies in the S&P 500 Index were falling nearly 0.2%. Elsewhere, the Philadelphia Housing Sector Index was more than 1.1% lower.
In economic news:
Manufacturing activity throughout New York state and parts of Connecticut and New Jersey stayed relatively strong during January this month although the pace slowed slightly compared to December to a 17.7 reading for the Empire State Manufacturing Survey compared with an upwardly revised 19.6 December score. Much of the slowdown was due to a 7-point drop in new orders to a 11.9 reading along with a 19-point drop in unemployment to 3.8 from a 22.9 reading last month. The six-month outlook also remains buoyant, however, at 48.6 and rising 2.3 points over the previous survey.
Among financial companies moving on news:
Mercantile Bank ( MBWM ) retreated Tuesday, falling almost 7% to a session low of $34.99 a share, after the bank holding company saw its Q4 net income shrink compared with year-ago levels and missing Wall Street expectations. The company earned $0.48 per share during the three months ended Dec. 31, down from $0.49 per share during the same quarter last year and trailing the Capital IQ consensus by $0.02 per share. Revenue grew 6% year-over-year to $32.9 mln, also falling short of the $33.2 mln analyst mean. Mercantile also declared a Q1 dividend of $0.22 per share, representing a 16% increase over its most recent distribution of $0.19 per share and payable March 21 to shareholders of record on March 9.
In other news:
+ Bank of the Ozarks ( OZRK ) has turned slightly higher this afternoon, erasing all of a 3% decline earlier today after the bank holding company reported an 8.7% increase in Q4 revenue to $245 mln but still falling short of the $251.5 mln consensus call. It also reported Q4 net income of $1.14 per share, which includes a $0.39 per share one-time tax benefit resulting from federal legislation enacted recently by Congress. Analysts, on average, were expecting $1.07 per share.
- First Republic Bank ( FRC ) was lower Tuesday, reversing a prior gain that followed it reporting improved Q4 financial results compared with the same quarter last year. The company earned $1.10 per share during the three months ended Dec. 31, up from $1.03 per share last year, while total revenue in the quarter grew 16.6% year-over-year to $699.2 mln. Analyst estimates were not available.
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