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Sector Update: Financial

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Financial stocks are lower, with the NYSE Financial Sector Index retreating 0.9% and the S&P Financial 100 Index down 1.0%.

In company news, Northstar Realty Corp. ( NRF ) is trading at its best level since July 2007, rising as much as 20% after announcing plans to spin off its asset management business into a separate, publicly traded company.

NRF shares were last up 17% at $11.63 apiece and 33 cents off its intra-day high. Volume is also extremely heavy, with more than 27 million shares already changing hands, or about 10 times its 2.7-million-share daily average over the past three months.

The spinoff of NorthStar Asset Management Corp. is expected to be accomplished through a tax-free distribution of shares of the new company, tentatively slated for Q2 of next year. Like NRF, shares of the new firm would list on the New York Stock Exchange.

As part of the proposed spinoff, NorthStar Asset Management would manage NRF through a 20-year management contract. It also would manage NRF's non-traded REIT business while owning its broker-dealer platform.

In other sector news,

(+) MA, (+3.9%) Announces 10-for-1 stock split and increased its quarterly dividend 83% to to $1.10 per share. The payment processor also disclosed plans for a $3.5-bln stock buyback program.

(-) HRB, (-3.9%) Reports Q2 net loss of $0.42 per share, ex items, $0.05 worse than expectations. Revenue falls 2.4% year over year to $134 mln, missing the Capital IQ consensus by $4.56 mln.

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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