Financial stocks are slightly higher with the NYSE Financial Sector Index gaining 0.1% and the S&P Financial 100 Index adding less than 0.1%.
In company news, Sallie Mae ( SLM ) shares retreated today after the student-loan processor reported Q4 earnings that declined 22% from year-ago levels.
SLM reported GAAP net income of $270 million, down from $348 million during the same quarter last year. On a per-share basis, the company earned $0.60 during the December quarter, down from $0.74 per share last year.
Core earnings excluding market gains and losses on derivatives contracts were $0.61 per share, up from $0.55 a year earlier but trailing Capital IQ consensus by $0.12 per share.
The company said it expects to issue EPS guidance for 2014 once it completes its split into two companies, separating its education-loan operations from its consumer-lending unit. Both companies initially will be owned by existing SLM shareholders.
Shares were down 9% at near $24.70 each in recent trade. The stock has a 52-week range of $16.57 to $27.34, the latter hit Thursday.
In other sector news,
(+) MS, (+4.3%, hit 52 week highs) Reports non-GAAP Q4 earnings of $0.50 per share, ex items, beating consensus view by $0.08. Revenue rises 12.4% over year-ago levels to $7.83 bln, lagging estimates by around $160 mln.
(-) COF, (-4.9%) Reports Q4 EPS of $1.45 per share, missing forecasts by $0.12. Revenue falls 1.4% compared to the same quarter last year to $5.54 bln, topping Capital IQ consensus by around $60 mln.
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