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Huntington Bancshares: Financial Loser

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Huntington Bancshares (HBAN - Get Report) was the loser among the largest U.S. financial names on Wednesday, with shares declining 2.5% to close at $5.84.

The broad indexes gave up earlier gains after Federal Reserve Chairman in a speech before the Economic Club of Minnesota indicated that the central bank may have to be less accommodating in its rate policy, because "inflation picked up significantly" so far in 2012, because "prices of many commodities, notably oil, increased sharply earlier this year," and because of supply disruptions, making "the price index for personal consumption expenditures [rise] at an annual rate of about 3-1/2 percent, compared with an average of less than 1-1/2 percent over the preceding two years."

Bernanke added that "inflation is expected to moderate in the coming quarters as these transitory influences wane," and that "in particular, the prices of oil and many other commodities have either leveled off or have come down from their highs."

The The KBW Bank Index (I:BKX) declined 1 % to close at 45.32, with

Huntington Bancshares has seen its stock return 6% year-to-date, following a 19% decline in 2011.

The Columbus, Ohio, lender's shares trade for 1.2 times tangible book value, according to HighlineFI, and for 10 times the consensus 2012 earnings estimate of 59 cents, and analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. The consensus 2013 EPS estimate is 64 cents.

Barclays Capital analyst Jason Goldberg has an "Underweight" rating on Huntington Bancshares, with a $7 price target, saying on Feb. 21 after reviewing the company's annual 10-K filing that his firm is "somewhat skeptical" of Huntington's "Fair Play" strategy to grow its checking account deposits, "attempts to translate foregone revenue into improved retention and share gains," adding that he expects "minimal growth in pre-provision net revenue for the foreseeable future."

Goldberg estimates that Huntington will earn 55 cents a share in 2012, followed by EPS of 60 cents in 2013.

Please see TheStreet's earnings coverage for a review of Huntington's fourth-quarter results.

Interested in more Huntington Bancshares? See TheStreet Ratings' report card for this stock.
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