Another Round of Solid Bank Earnings

FleetBoston, Fifth Third and Commerce beat expectations, while earnings grow at Wells Fargo.
Author:
Publish date:

Updated from 9:57 a.m. EDT

Good tidings continued to flow in Tuesday from the financial sector.

Boston-based

FleetBoston Financial

(FBF)

, Cincinnati-based

Fifth Third

(FITB) - Get Report

and New Jersey-based

Commerce Bank

(CBH) - Get Report

all posted higher second-quarter profits that were slightly ahead of Wall Street expectations.

The main disappointment of the day was California-based

Wells Fargo

(WFC) - Get Report

, which failed to match Wall Street expectations, even as it second-quarter earnings also rose.

In the quarter, Fleet earned $624 million, or 59 cents a share, compared with a loss of $386 million, or 37 cents a share. The Thomson First Call consensus estimate had the bank earning 58 cents in a quarter.

In a conference call, however, Fleet executives offered a word of caution when they said the still-weak economy might cause the bank to miss its own full-year earnings estimate of $2.50 a share. Chief Financial Officer Robert Lamb called that earlier estimate a "stretch.''

Most analysts were never expecting Fleet to earn anywhere near that much, anyway. The First Call consensus estimate before today's earning release had the bank earning $2.38.

Profits, meanwhile, rose 8% at Fifth Third, which earned $437 million, or 75 cents a share, compared to $404 million, or 68 cents a share. The consensus estimate had the bank earning 74 cents a share.

Wells Fargo posted a 7% gain in profits, but its earnings per share came in a penny shy of the First Call estimate. In the quarter, the bank earned $1.53 billion, or 90 cents a share, compared to $1.42 billion, or 82 cents a share a year ago.

Commerce Bank, one of the nation's fastest growing regionals, earned $45.3 million, or 63 a share, compared to $34.8 million, or 49 cents a year ago. The consensus estimate was for the bank to earn 61 cents.

Charges at asset manager

State Street

(STT) - Get Report

produced a second-quarter loss of $23 million, or 7 cents a share, on revenue of $1.08 billion. State Street took charges totaling 59 cents a share in the quarter. Excluding items, the company would have earned 52 cents a share.

As has been the case for a while, bank earnings were fueled mainly by strong consumer demand for mortgages and refinancings of existing mortgages.

Other banks also expected to report earnings on Tuesday include Seattle-based

Washington Mutual

(WM) - Get Report

and Minnesota-based

U.S. Bancorp

(USB) - Get Report

.

The generally good earnings numbers come a day after

Citigroup

(C) - Get Report

and

Bank of America

(BAC) - Get Report

posted profits that far exceeded analyst expectations.