Top Financial Stocks
Financial stocks still were mostly higher in recent trade, with the NYSE Financial Sector Index rising 0.3% while financial companies in the S&P 500 Index also were posting a nearly 0.2% gain. The Philadelphia Housing Sector Index also was nearly 0.4% higher.
In economic news:
Import and export prices outpaced expert opinion during January, rising by 1.0% and 0.8%, respectively, compared with consensus projections expecting a 0.6% increase in import price over prior-month levels and expectations for a 0.3% month-over-month rise. The gains were not solely responsible to an a rise in energy prices, with non-petroleum prices rising an unusually strong 0.5% percent last month. The price for imported care also made a rare 0.5% jump while imported food and beverage prices also rose. Among exports, capital goods leaving the country rose 0.5% over December levels while consumer and vehicle export prices also turned in outsized 0.3% gains. Year-over-year, import prices rose 3.6% while export prices climbed 3.4%.
Housing starts also surged in January at the second highest rate of the current expansion, growing an annualized 1.326 million following an upwardly revised 1.209 million during December. Strength was centered among multi-unit housing although single-family homes also demonstrated significant growth. The pace for building permits again topped starts, rising at an annualized 1.396 million pace in January compared with the 1.300 million rate industry experts were expecting.
Consumer optimism also outpaced expectations, with the University of Michigan reporting an increase to a final 99.9 reading in its consumer sentiment index for February, up from 95.7 in January as recent federal tax cuts worked to reduce worries about an eratic stock stock market.
Among financial stocks moving on news:
+ Cedar Realty Trust ( CDR ) rose Friday after the real estate investment trust said it has signed a cooperation agreement with Snow Park Capital Partners LP in the process of naming a new independent director to the Cedar Realty board. Under terms of the agreement, Snow Park can consult with the nominations and corporate governance committee as well as interviewing the board nominee in return for agreeing to vote all of its share in favor of the remaining members of the company's director slate.
In other sector news:
+ National Health Investors ( NHI ) climbed over 4% on Friday, touching a session high of $66.94 a share, after the real estate investment trust reported Q4 financial results exceeding analyst estimates and also said it was boosting its quarterly cash dividend by $0.05 per share, or about 5.3%, to $1.00 per share. Normalized funds from operations climbed to $1.36 per share from $1.27 per share in the year-ago period to beat the Street view by $0.03 per share. Revenue also rose to $71.1 million from $65.0 million last year and topped the $70.7 million analyst mean. For FY18, National Health is forecasting normalized FFO in a range of $5.45 to $5.51 per share, straddling the $5.48 per share consensus.
+ Sun Life Financial (SLF,SLF.TO) was hanging on to a fractional gain, slipping from a slightly more than 1% rise to a session high of $43.09 a share after analysts at BMO Capital Friday raised their investment rating for the property and casualty insurance carrier to Outperform from Market Perform.
- Select Income REIT ( SIR ) was narrowly lower Friday, giving back a more than 3% advance soon after the opening bell that followed the real estate investment trust reporting adjusted Q4 funds from operations trailing year-ago comparisons and Wall Street expectations. Excluding one-time items, the company turned in adjusted FFO of $0.39 per share during the three months ended Dec. 31, down from $0.71 per share during the final three monthsof 2016 and missing the Capital IQ consensus expecting $0.58 per share. Total revenue rose to $117.9 million from $114.8 million last year, largely matching the $117.8-million consensus view.
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