Following a Bloomberg report on Wednesday that Regions was holding exclusive discussions with Stifel Financial (SF) for a sale of Morgan Keegan, which is based in Memphis, Tenn., the Memphis Business Journal reported that a potential sale of the brokerage unit to Stifel could lead to between 500 and 900 layoffs. Stifel's shares were up slightly, closing at $31.57.
Regions stands out as the largest publicly traded U.S. bank still owing government bailout funds received through the Troubled Assets Relief Program, or TARP. The Treasury holds $3.5 billion in preferred shares of the Birmingham, Ala., lender.
The broad indexes were mixed on Friday, with financial news also mixed. The Conference Board's index of leading U.S. economic indicators rose 0.9% in October, better than the 0.6% increase economists expected.Meanwhile, it appeared that the congressional supercommittee made up of Democrats and Republicans would miss its Thanksgiving deadline for a deal to reduce the federal budget deficit through a combination of spending cuts and tax increases. European dithering over its sovereign debt crisis continued, with European Central bank chief Mario Draghi criticizing eurozone leaders for failing to make progress on previous plans to resolve the crisis. The KBW Bank Index (I:BKX) rose nearly 1% to close at 37.52. Large U.S, banks seeing shares rise 2% on Friday included Commerce Bancshares (CBSH), which closed at 38.61, and Huntington Bancshares (HBAN), closing at $5.16. Big banks seeing 1% gains to round out the week included Citigroup (C), closing at $26.28; Cullen/Frost Bankers (CFR), at $49.87; Capital One (COF), at $41.62; Fifth Third Bancorp (FITB), at $11.89; KeyCorp (KEY), at $7.08; M&T Bank (MTB), at $71.75; PNC Financial Services Group (PNC), at $52.59; SunTrust (STI), at $18.09; and U.S Bancorp (USB), which closed at $25.38.
Philip van Doorn. To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/PhilipvanDoorn.
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