Financial stocks trundled upward to crown the surging Nasdaq Wednesday even as profound credit-market troubles continued to haunt the sector.
Alesco Financial (AFN) catapulted 31.6% after the Philadelphia-based mortgage-investment firm announced a $50 million share-repurchase program. Second-quarter adjusted earnings also totaled 31 cents a share, which meets the sole profit estimate from Thomson Financial. Shares were up $1.16 to $4.83.
New York's Crystal River Capital (CRZ), another real-estate investor, jumped 14% to $11.85 on word it will buy back up to 2 million of its shares. ING Group (ING - Get Report), based in the Netherlands, reported a 27.1% year-over-year earnings leap to $3.53 billion (2.56 billion euros), or $1.63 a share. Shares of the bank added $2.44, or 5.8%, to $44.27.
MGIC Investment (MTG - Get Report), a private-mortgage insurer, soared 15.3% after saying it's "not obligated" to close its pending stock-swap merger with Radian Group (RDN - Get Report). MGIC cited last week's revelation that the companies may have to write off their investments in Credit Based Asset Servicing and Securitization, which sustained "unprecedented losses" ultimately due to borrowers with questionable credit.Radian said it doesn't believe these developments dissolve MGIC's obligations, but Citigroup downgraded the stock to hold from buy and Standard & Poor's put the firm on negative credit watch. Radian shares hurtled downward by as much as 24% this morning before making a quick recovery. Lately, they were off 1.6% to $20.95. MGIC was rising $6.03 to $40.87.