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Wells Fargo: Fed Lawsuit Loser


SunTrust (STI - Get Report) was the winner among the largest U.S. banks on Tuesday, with shares rising 2% to close at $30.10.

SunTrust's shares have been quite volatile over the past few sessions. The Atlanta Lender will announce its third-quarter results on Oct. 22, with the consensus among analysts being a profit of $1.78 a share (including several extraordinary items), increasing from 50 cents the previous quarter, and 39 cents a year earlier.

SunTrust's shares have risen 19% since the company announced on Sept. 6 that it would end its investment in Coca Cola (KO), in order to shore up its capital ratios, because the Federal Reserve's proposed capital rules will increase the risk weighting of banks' equity investments.

The company accelerated two forward purchase agreements to sell its Coke shares, while also transferring $3 billion in portfolio loans to held-for-sale, and said that the moves, along with other actions, would lead to a pretax third-quarter gain of $1.9 billion, or $1.2 billion after taxes.

The company also announced it would transfer roughly $3 billion in loans to held-for-sale, including performing student loans and nonperforming residential mortgage and commercial real estate loans, resulting in pre-tax charges of $250 million, and that "in light of ongoing discussions with Fannie Mae (FNMA) and Freddie Mac (FMCC)," it expected "to record an estimated $375 million mortgage repurchase provision during the quarter."

The shares have now returned 72% year-to-date, following a 40% decline during 2011, and trade for 1.2 times their reported June 30 tangible book value of $26.02, and for 11 times the consensus 2013 EPS of $2.78. The consensus 2012 EPS estimate $3.27.

KBW analyst Jefferson Harralson rates SunTrust "Outperform," with a price target of $34, and estimates that the company "to report a 3Q12 GAAP number of $2.04," but that after adjusting for the one-time items, the company will have a third-quarter operating loss of 20 cents a share.

Harralson expects investors to look beyond the extraordinary items and focus on SunTrust's net interest margin, which expects to be flat from the third quarter, and "loan growth (which we estimate at 5% annualized)."
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