Top Financial Stocks
Financial stocks turned sharply lower just ahead of Tuesday's closing bell, with the NYSE Financial Sector Index sinking more than 1.2% while financial companies in the S&P 500 Index were declining slightly over 2.1%. The Philadelphia Housing Sector Index was down almost 0.8%.
In economic news:
Home prices in the 20 largest U.S. metropolitan areas grew 0.8% during January over prior-month levels, topping expert opinion looking for a 0.7% monthly increase for the S&P Corelogic Case-Shiller index. Prices also were 6.4% higher compared with January 2017, matching a 42-month high first reached in November. The West Coast continues to see the steepest gains, with home prices in Seattle climbing 12.9% year-over-year while Las Vegas and San Francisco were up 11.1% and 10.2%, respectively. Chicago and Washington, D.C., saw the slowest growth, both adding 2.4% over year-ago levels.
Consumer confidence eased slightly during March, falling back to a 127.7 final reading from February's downwardly revised 130.0 final score. The labor market remains an optimistic component, with only 14.9% saying jobs are hard to get. But confidence in the stock market still was eroding, with the share of individuals expecting stocks to finish with gains this year falling to 35.4% this month from 40.1% in February and a 51.0% peak in January just before the selloff began.
Manufacturing activity throughout the mid-Atlantic region during March, with the Richmond Federal Reserve district index sliding 13 points from the prior month to a March reading of 15, ending a 17-month string of gains and also lagging the 22 score experts were expecting. The deceleration was broad-based, with service expenditures the lone component rising this month.
Among financial stocks moving on news:
- Sun Life Financial (SLF,SLF.TO) turned lower again late in Tuesday trading, falling almost 2% to a session low of $40.75 a share that followed the company buying two office buildings in Montreal's Mile End district. The purchase adds almost 400,000 square feet of office space to Sun Life's real estate portfolio, occupying prime locatons in midtown Montreal adjacent to a train station and within walking distance of two subway stations. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
In other sector news:
+ Carlyle Group ( CG ) was more than 1% higher Tuesday, easing from a more than 2% gain earlier in the session that followed the private-equity firm saying it was partnering with GIC to buy AkzoNobel's specialty chemicals business for EUR10.1 billion, or about $12.6 billion. The deal is expected to close before the end of the year, AkzoNobel said.
+ First Commonwealth Financial ( FCF ) was edging higher Tuesday afternoon, reversing a nearly 1% decline previously in the session that followed the bank holding company saying it has received all of required regulatory approvals for its proposed $58 million merger with Garfield Acquisition Corp.'s Foundation Bank.
- GGP Inc ( GGP ) fell Tuesday, dropping almost 5% to a session low of $20.25 a share, despite late Monday agreeing to an upsized $9.25 billion acquisition offer from Brookfield Property Partners LP (BPY,BPY-UN.TO) for the 66% of the the retail real estate investment trust it doesn't already own. GGP investors will have the choice of receiving $23.50 in either cash or stock for each of their shares, marking a 50-cent increase over Brookfield's previous offer in November 2017. Following the deal announcement, analysts at Canaccord Genuity raised their investment call for Brookfield stock to Buy from Hold.
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