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Financial Sector Update for 03/19/2018: FNF,STC,GHL,RBS,RBS.L,LEJU

Top Financial Stocks

JPM -1.13%

BAC -0.76%

WFC -1.04%

C -1.35%

USB -1.13%

Financial stocks steadied in recent trade, ending a prior slide, with the NYSE Financial Sector Index sinking almost 1.0% while financial companies in the S&P 500 Index were falling over 1.0%. The Philadelphia Housing Sector Index was down nearly 0.8% this afternoon.

In economic news:

The economic calendar was empty on Monday ahead of the start of the two-day Federal Open Markets Committee meeting on Tuesday and the FOMC announcement on Wednesday where the rate-setting panel is widely expected to increase the Federal Funds Rate by another 25 basis points to a new target range of 1.50% to $1.75%. New Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell also will be making his first appearance Wednesday afternoon at the central bank's quarterly news conference. Overall, the FOMC is expected to boost interest rate two more times during 2018 in addition to Wednesday's quarter-point increase.

Among financial stocks moving on news:

+ Fidelity National Financial Inc. ( FNF ) Monday jumped out to a best-ever $42.52 a share, climbing over 8%, after announcing the purchase of Stewart Information Services ( STC ). Under the terms of the deal, Stewart investors will receive $50.20 for each of their shares, consisting of $25.00 in cash and 0.6425 of a Fidelity share for each Stewart common share, subject to adjustment and election mechanisms. The transaction is slated to close during Q1 or Q2 of 2019. If the deal cannot obtain all f the required regulatory approvals, Fidelity will pay a $50 million break-up fee to Stewart.

In other sector news:

- Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS,RBS.L) declined Monday after the British state-backed lender reportedly agreed to allow a shareholder vote on whether to give retail investors more power over the bank, giving in to a long-sought demand from shareholder groups, ShareSoc and the UK Shareholders' Association said Monday. The bank late Friday also priced an EUR800 million offering of fixed-to-fixed-rate notes due September 2026 at 99.381% of par. The notes initially will have a 2.875% annual yield with the first rate reset date scheduled for September 2019.

- Leju ( LEJU ) fell Monday after the Chinese property manager narrowed its adjusted Q4 net loss and revenue rose compared with year-ago levels. Excluding one-time items, the company reported an adjusted net loss of $0.14 per share during the three months ended Dec. 31, 2017, improving on a $0.17 per share net loss during the final three months of 2016 and also topping the single-analyst estimate provided by Capital IQ expecting no change from last year in its quarterly non-GAAP net loss. Revenue rose to $106.4 million from $104.9 million last year. The company also is projecting revenue during the current quarter ending next week in a range of $75 million to $77 million.

- Greenhill & Co. ( GHL ) was retreating in recent trade, falling almost 4% to a session low of $19.25 a share, after the investment banking company Monday announced final results for its modified Dutch auction tender, accepting slightly more than 1.05 million shares of its common stock for repurchase at $20.50 apiece by the March 14 deadline. The $21.6 million stock buyback reduced the number of the company's outstanding shares by about 4%, it said.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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