Amvescap ( AVZ) gained after the British investment firm struck a deal to acquire WL Ross & Co., the investment firm run by turnaround specialist Wilbur Ross. Amvescap will pay an initial $100 million for the six-year-old firm and could end up shelling out as much as $375 million, depending on future earnings. WL Ross will be merged into Amvescap's private-equity operation, Invesco Private Capital. Ross will run the division after the transaction is completed.Ross is well known in the U.S. for investing in bankrupt companies and trying to turn them around. He started WL Ross in 2000 with about $450 million from investors. Ross is best known for cobbling together ISG ( ISG), which stands for International Steel Group, from the remnants of LTV and Bethlehem Steel in 2001 and 2002. Amvescap's best-known fund families are AIM and Invesco. Shares of Amvescap climbed 88 cents, or 5.13%, to $18.03 recently. Partners Trust Financial Group ( PRTR) slipped after the Utica, N.Y., bank's shares were downgraded by Ryan Beck & Co. to underperform from market perform. Ryan Beck bank analyst Collyn B. Gilbert noted, "Partners reported flat deposit growth in the second straight quarter, driven by a combination of a seasonal decline in municipal deposits and a modest increase in time deposits." Gilbert also noted that "recent flood damage throughout the company's market areas could potentially led to material credit defaults." Last week, the bank reported second-quarter earnings of $6.8 million, or 15 cents a share, down from $6.9 million, or 14 cents a share, a year ago. Partners Trust said net interest income dropped $3.5 million to $21.6 million. Shares fell 38 cents, or 3.47%, to $10.57 recently. Credit Suisse Group ( CSR) gained after the Swiss-based financial services firm was upgraded by JPMorgan Chase to overweight from neutral. "We would point out that our upgrade is fully related to Private Banking," said a JPMorgan research report. "We still take an underweight view to the Investment Banking business, but for Credit Suisse we believe the potential weakness in the investment bank is more than offset by the private banking franchise." Shares climbed $1.55, or 3.03%, to $52.66 recently.
Waddell & Reed Financial ( WDR) advanced after the Kansas-based financial firm announced a $50 million settlement with securities regulators in the nearly three-year-old mutual fund trading investigation. The settlement with state and federal regulators resolves allegations that Waddell & Reed permitted hedge funds and other traders to market-time, or frequently trade, shares of some of its mutual funds. The deal also requires Waddell & Reed to reduce some its management fees by $5 million a year for each of the next five years. The company estimated the settlement will result in a pretax charge of $55 million or less in the second quarter. Shares rose 50 cents, or 2.55%, to $20.11 recently. Capital One Financial ( COF) was still retreating after the Virginia-based credit card firm's second-quarter earnings fell short last week of Wall Street's expectations. Capital One earned $552.6 million, or $1.78 a share, up from $531.1 million, or $2.03 a share, a year earlier. The results were pulled down by the company's U.K. operations, which Capital One said are being hit by a worsening credit environment. The company recorded a write-down related to the U.K. operation that shaved 16 cents a share off earnings. Analysts, on average, had expected earnings of $2.06 a share. Shares were off 59 cents, or just under 1%, to $77.11 recently.