This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
TheStreet Open House

Wednesday's Financial Winners & Losers

Financial stocks started the day in the red as the market digested data pointing to higher inflation and fewer mortgage applications, but ultimately clawed their way back.

Investors were greeted Wednesday morning with the Labor Department reporting that the Consumer Price Index rose 0.4%, while analysts had expected the rise to be 0.3%. Food prices jumped the largest amount in eleven months. Not surprisingly, applications for new mortgages dropped 22.6% during the week ending Feb. 15 as most interest rates moved higher, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association's weekly application survey.

A plan to buoy some bond insurers, at the center of the credit and housing storms of late, may have helped lift financial stocks and the wider market. MBIA (MBI) and Ambac (ABK) were enjoying gains after hedge fund activist Bill Ackman floated a plan to New York state Insurance Superintendent Eric Dinallo that would keep large bond insurers businesses intact. MBIA closed up 4.1% to $12.18, while Ambac's price ended flat at $9.94.

SWS Group (SWS) also was up on the news, as well as a report of a new contract. Shares gained 10.2% after RTTNews also reported that the Dallas-based regional brokerage firm inked a 1.7 billion British pound contract to support ProcServe's customer base and international growth expansion plans.

In the shadow of Societé Generale's rogue trader scandal and Credit Suisse's (CS) mispriced portfolio, ING (ING) managed to report an 18% gain in profit for the fourth quarter. While the company did mark down some assets, the exposure was limited and the market rewarded the effort by sending the stock up 2.2% to $32.71.

The NYSE Financial Sector Index closed up 75.54 to 7,510.69.

On the flip side, KKR Financial Holdings (KFN), a unit of one of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, one the world's largest private-equity firms, saying it has delayed payment on billions in loans and opened debt restructuring talks with creditors. Instead of borrowing from banks, KKR raised money through secured liquidity notes. The payments were to begin on Feb. 15; instead they have pushed that payback date to March 3. The stock closed down 1.9% and once again heightened credit fears.

Also suffering was Stewart Information Services (STC) which sank 6.8% after it reported a fourth-quarter loss of $31.3 million, or $1.74 a share, down from a year-ago profit of $10.7 million, or 59 cents a share. The Houston-based insurance and real estate information company attributed the lower results to the "sudden collapse" of the subprime mortgage market and a tightening of available credit. The latest results include charges of 72 cents a share related to the company's decision to increase reserves for nine large title claims and an additional reserve adjustment of $5 million to its incurred but not reported reserves because of an increase in the frequency of large claims.

HCC Insurance (HCC) tumbled 7% the morning after it reported its earnings after the close Tuesday, even though the profits were record-setting. The Houston-based specialty insurance company held its conference call Wednesday morning and while the current numbers beat analyst's forecasts, the projected earnings range of $2.90 to $3.20 per share was below the $3.38 they were expecting.

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 17,067.56 -30.89 -0.18%
S&P 500 2,002.28 -1.09 -0.05%
NASDAQ 4,598.1880 +17.9170 0.39%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs