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Capital One Guides Lower

The new bankruptcy law is causing higher charge-offs.
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Capital One

(COF) - Get Free Report

posted third-quarter earnings that were little changed from a year ago, as a swelling in the company's loan portfolio was offset by expenses related to hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the new bankruptcy law.

The credit card company earned $491.1 million, or $1.81 a share, in the quarter, compared with $490.2 million, or $1.97 a share, a year ago. Earnings in the latest period were reduced $44 million by the hurricanes and another $75 million by the bankruptcy overhaul, which caused an exaggerated number of filings in the weeks before it took effect.

Analysts had been forecasting earnings of $1.82 a share in the latest quarter. For the full year, Capital One said earnings will probably be at the low end of its previous guidance of $6.60 to $7 a share. Analysts had been forecasting $6.97 a share.

Capital One said its managed loan portfolio rose 12% from a year ago to $84.8 billion at the end of the third quarter, and predicted a similar rate for the full year. Managed charge-offs were 4.14% in the 2005 quarter compared with 4.05% a year ago.

"Due to the unprecedented volume of bankruptcy filings made in October, management estimates the impact of the increased bankruptcy filings on its managed net charge-off rate in the fourth quarter of 2005 to be approximately 50 to 100 basis points," the bank said. It put the fourth-quarter charge-off rate at about 5%.

The shares shed 2.6% to $70.75 after hours.