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Regions: Financial Loser, Again


NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- On another day of uncertainty for financial names, Regions Financial (RS) was the loser among the large U.S. banks, with shares dropping 8% to close at $3.86.

Investors continue to wait and see how the bidding for Regions Financial's coming sale of its Morgan Keegan unit will pan out. Potential bidders listed by SNL Financial include Stifel Financial (SF), and Reuters previously reported that "initial bidders" for the brokerage unit included a tandem bid by Blackstone Group (BX) and Carlyle Group LLC, as well as a bid by Raymond James Financial (RJF).

The Morgan Keegan sale is expected to net Regions roughly $1 billion, which would come in handy, since the Birmingham, Ala., lender is the largest remaining publicly traded bank owing federal bailout funds received through the Troubled Assets Relief Program, or TARP. The U.S. government is into Regions for $7.5 billion.

The broad indexes ended the week on a down note, with domestic headlines centering on the radical change in course for Hewlett Packard (HPQ), and European traders remaining nervous as UBS (UBS) and Credit Suisse (CS) denied rumors that they accessed short-term dollar funding via the Swiss National Bank last week.

Meanwhile, the price of gold hit another new record.

The KBW Bank Index (I:BKX) decline 3% to close at 35.47, with all 24 index components down for Friday's session.

SunTrust (STI) was down 5% to close at $16.91.

Large banks seeing 4% declines to round-out the week included Citigroup (C), which closed at $26.77; Huntington Bancshares (HBAN), closing at $4.56; KeyCorp (KEY), at $6.01; and PNC Financial (PNC), which closed at $43.12.

Both Huntington and PNC were feature in TheStreet's 10 Banks Growing Business Loans , which highlighted bank holding companies showing both linked-quarter and year-over-year increases in commercial and industrial loans.

Major banking names seeing 3% price declines on Friday included BB&T (BBT), closing at $19.27; Bank of New York Mellon (BK), at $18.95; Cullen/Frost (CFR), at $46.21; Comerica (CMA), at $22.58; and Fifth Third Bancorp (FITB), which closed at $9.30.


-- Written by Philip van Doorn in Jupiter, Fla.

To contact the writer, click here: Philip van Doorn.

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Philip W. van Doorn is a member of TheStreet's banking and finance team, commenting on industry and regulatory trends. He previously served as the senior analyst for Ratings, responsible for assigning financial strength ratings to banks and savings and loan institutions. Mr. van Doorn previously served as a loan operations officer at Riverside National Bank in Fort Pierce, Fla., and as a credit analyst at the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, where he monitored banks in New York, New Jersey and Puerto Rico. Mr. van Doorn has additional experience in the mutual fund and computer software industries. He holds a bachelor of science in business administration from Long Island University.

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