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Thursday's Financial Winners & Losers

Freddie Mac slumps on an earnings miss.

Updated from 2:23 p.m. EDT

The financial sector was lagging behind the broad indices Thursday morning, under pressure from a helping of disappointing news.

The

NYSE

Financial Sector Index lost about 97 points, or 1.1%, to about 8870 as member

Freddie Mac

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sank 5% to close at $60.07 on poor second-quarter results.

The mortgage investor's profit dropped 47.2% to $1.02 a share, or $764 million. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial had sought $1.16 a share. The McLean, Va., firm blamed the precipitous decline on bad loans, including a higher credit-loss provision.

National City

(NCC)

and

MAF Bancorp

(MAFB)

both retreated after the banks announced that their stock-swap merger, announced in May, has been approved by the

Federal Reserve Board

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. They said the transaction should now close "promptly."

National City, off 2.7% to close at $26.55, helped to weigh on the KBW Bank Index. The tracker shed 1.2% to about 105. MAF Bancorp lost 53 cents, or 1%, to close at $52.98.

Asset manager

Janus Capital

(JNS)

crept downward on word one of its high-profile fund managers, Scott Schoelzel, will leave the firm at the end of the year. Ron Sachs will succeed him. Shares of the Denver-based company surrendered 4.4% to close at $26.19.

Elsewhere,

Thornburg Mortgage

(TMA)

jumped 5.8% after offering $500 million in convertible redeemable preferred stock, in addition to a 15% overallotment option. Shares climbed 65 cents to close at $11.81.

H&R Block

(HRB) - Get H&R Block, Inc. (HRB) Report

also traded up to reverse early losses after posting a narrower-than-expected continuing-operations loss of 34 cents a share in the first fiscal quarter. The Kansas City, Mo., firm also tightened the lower end of its fiscal 2008 earnings outlook by a nickel to between $1.30 and $1.45 a share.

Block additionally reported that it expects to

shut down

the mortgage-origination operations at its Option One subprime unit, given that private-equity firm Cerberus said it only wants to buy the unit's loan-servicing platform. But shares rose 1.7% to close at $19.84 on the possibility that the deal could still close at all, even if at a reduced price.