Profit Warning Hammers UnionBanCal - TheStreet

Shares in

UnionBanCal

(UB)

plummeted Friday after the company warned late Thursday that it would miss Wall Street's profit estimates for the second quarter as a result of increased credit losses.

The banking company said it expected to report operating earnings of 77 to 82 cents a diluted share. That is well short of earnings of 88 cents a share that analysts surveyed by

First Call/Thomson Financial

had projected for the banking company.

UnionBanCal tumbled 8 3/4, or 31%, to close at 19 15/16 after reaching a 52-week low of 19 9/16.

The company said it estimated its provision for credit losses at roughly $70 million, compared with $40 million in the first quarter.

"We are disappointed to report a lowering of our profit expectations for the current quarter," said Takahiro Moriguchi, president and chief executive, in a statement. "We have seen a decline in asset quality and taken appropriate action."

Moriguchi added that the company's "core earnings power remains strong."

UnionBanCal is the holding company for

Union Bank of California

, which operates some 250 branches in California, Oregon, and Washington and 18 branches overseas. The company is in the midst of a major cost-cutting and restructuring program.

UnionBanCal shares closed Thursday down 1 13/16, or 6%, to 28 11/16. The announcement was made after the markets closed, and the company's stock did not trade after hours on

Instinet

.