The company early Thursday reported third-quarter earnings available to common shareholders of $421 million, or 47 cents a share, compared to $582 million, or 65 cents a share, in the second quarter, and $354 million, or 38 cents a share, in the third quarter of 2012.
As usual, Fifth Third's numbers included extraordinary items, with the third-quarter results boosted by an $85 million benefit on the sales of shares of Vantiv (VNTV), which came to $55 million after tax, or 6 cents a share.
As expected, Fifth Third reported a sharp drop in mortgage banking net revenue to $121 million in the third quarter, from $233 million the previous quarter and $200 million a year earlier.A partial offset to the revenue drop was a decline in credit expenses. The bank's third-quarter provision for loan and lease losses was $51 million, declining from $64 million the previous quarter and $65 million a year earlier. Jefferies analyst Ken Usdin in a note to clients said Fifth-Third's operating earnings for the third quarter appeared "closer to $0.43, excluding one-timers," which he called a "solid beat" of the consensus EPS estimate of 42 cents, among analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. Usdin wrote that Fifth Third's "expenses look good," since core expenses were down $55 million sequentially, excluding a $30 million litigation charge. The analyst rates Fifth Third a "buy," with a price target of $21.00. Please see TheStreet's earnings coverage for more on Fifth Third's results.