( CFC) dramatic fall crushed loads of financial stocks Thursday even as a number of names managed to climb on positive news.
Countrywide stock, which plummeted Weenesday on a
, took another beating on
as the Calabasas, Calif., lender drew down its $11.5 billion credit line. Moody's and Fitch
in response. Shares were down starkly in extremely heavy action before retreating to a 13.2% loss at $18.49.
Among the reams of financial stocks pulled down with Countrywide was online broker
, recently down 8.3% in furious trading. Commodities exchange
( NMX) slid 10.4%; lender
sank 7.5%; and broker
was off 0.8% at $163.54 in heavier-than-usual trading.
On the other hand,
soared 37.8% after the Charlotte, N.C., bank
Fifth Third Bancorp
for $31 a share in stock and cash -- a 53% premium to its latest close. The $1.1 billion deal should complete in the first quarter of next year. First Charter shares jumped $7.65 to $27.90.
Shares of Fifth Third, which was cut to underperform at Friedman Billings, shed $1.01, or 2.7%, to $36.37.
to outperform, however, after the San Francisco-based firm expressed belief that it has "ample liquidity" to meet its financial obligations and to keep its core business running. The company was in free fall yesterday after
about $5.1 billion in residential-mortgage loans, but today shares surged 19.4% to $12.56 in partial recovery.
Among other positive analyst calls,
was upped to buy at Punk Ziegel, and a Citigroup analyst said
( SOV) has scant exposure to subprime-mortgage and alt-A loans. It, too, garnered a buy rating. Shares of the companies rose 7.5% to $35.01 and 4% to $17.25, respectively.
More broadly, the
Financial Sector Index came up for air mid-afternoon after foundering in negative territory for most of the day. The tracker leapt 1.1% to 8,620.84. The KBW Index, which had a better day overall, was recently surging 2.63 points, or 2.6%, to 104.23.