Comerica Beats Street, Is Iffy on 2010 - TheStreet

Comerica Beats Street, Is Iffy on 2010

Comerica beats a Street estimate for its fourth-quarter net loss, but the regional bank forsees a mixed picture in 2010 on the loan front.
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DALLAS (

TheStreet

) --

Comerica

(COM) - Get Report

was among the regional banks that beat Street estimates with its earning per share loss on Thursday morning.

However, while other regional banks, including

Fifth Third Bancorp

(FITB) - Get Report

and

KeyCorp

(KEY) - Get Report

, were up significantly in the pre-market, there was little movement in Comerica shares in the pre-market after it posted earnings that beat Street estimates, but trailed the prior-year fourth quarter due to preferred dividend payments.

After the opening bell on Thursday, Comerica rose by more than 4%, but its gains were trailing the share price rises at regionals Fifth Third and KeyCorp.

Comerica reported a fourth quarter loss of $29 million on Thursday morning. However, preferred dividend payments of $94 million across the prior three quarters resulted in a loss of $62 million, and a loss per share of 41 cents, which still beat a Street estimate of a 49-cent-per-share loss.

In the third quarter, Comerica's loss has only been 10 cents per share. In the fourth quarter 2008, Comerica had a 2-cent gain.

In the fourth quarter, loan-loss provisions of $257 million were lower than the third-quarter level of $311 million, but significantly above the $192 million for the fourth quarter of 2008.

Comerica provided a mixed outlook on 2010. Comerica said loan demand would lag economic recovery by several quarters, and its provision for credit losses would be slightly in excess of net charge-offs in 2010.

However, Comerica also predicted improved loan pricing, lower funding costs and a lower level of excess liquidity.

Non-interest expenses increased in the fourth quarter by $25 million from the previous quarter, but Comerica said that workforce reductions in 2009 would benefit the cost structure in 2010, as well as reduced pension and FDIC expenses.

-- Reported by Eric Rosenbaum in New York.

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