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Fifth Third Bancorp: Financial Winner

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Fifth Third Bancorp (FITB - Get Report) was the winner among the largest U.S. financial names on Thursday, with shares rising 3% to close at $14.14.

The broad indexes saw strong gains after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said that "the ECB is ready to do whatever it takes to preserve the euro." Speaking at the Global Investment Conference in London on Thursday, Draghi also said "believe me, it will be enough."

The KBW Bank Index (I:BKX) rose 2% to close at 45.39, with all 24 index components rising for the session, except for New York Community Bancorp (NYB), which was down slightly to close at $12.65.

New York Community Bancorp on Wednesday reported second-quarter earnings of $131.2 million, or 30 cents a share, increasing from $118.3 million, or 27 cents a share, during the first quarter, and $119.5 million, or 27 cents a share, during the second quarter of 2011. The main factor in the sequential earnings improvement was an increase in mortgage banking income to $58.3 million during the second quarter, from $35.2 million the previous quarter.

The company's second-quarter return on average assets was 1.36% and its return on average tangible equity was 17.40% -- both strong figures in the current banking environment.

New York Community's shares trade for 1.8 times their reported June 30 tangible book value of $7.14, and for seven times the consensus 2013 earnings estimate of $1.04, among analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. The consensus 2012 EPS estimate is $1.09.

Based on a quarterly payout of 25 cents -- which has been maintained for 34 consecutive quarters -- New York Community's shares have a high dividend yield of 7.91%.

Despite what could only have been considered an excellent quarter, Citigroup analyst Josh Levin on Thursday reiterated his "Sell" rating for New York Community Bancorp, with a target price of $11, although the analyst raised his 2012 EPS estimate for the company to $1.15 from $1.01 and his 2013 estimate to 95 cents from 90 cents. Levin said "our thesis remains that NYB's dividend is at greater risk of being cut than what's currently priced into the stock," and that the combination of a "high dividend payout ratio" and a "sub 8%" ratio of tangible equity to tangible assets "may be outside of regulators' comfort zone."

New York Community's shares have now returned 6% year-to-date, following a 30% decline during 2011.

NYB Chart NYB data by YCharts

Interested in more on New York Community Bancorp? See TheStreet Ratings' report card for this stock.
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