National Financial Partners ( NFP) shares jumped 4.4% after the New York financial conglomerate announced a stock-buyback and said fourth-quarter earnings will be "broadly consistent" with Wall Street expectations. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial are looking for 78 cents a share. The company plans to repurchase 2 million shares after it completes a $200 million convertible bond offering. Shares were rising $1.96 to $46.81. State Street ( STT) rose after the Boston-based bank beat Wall Street fourth-quarter expectations. The securities processing bank earned $291 million, or 86 cents a share. Analysts were looking for earnings of 84 cents a share. Shares were gaining $1.72, or 2.4%, to $72.74. CIT ( CIT) gained after the middle-market commercial lender reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings and raised its outlook for 2007. The New York-based lender earned $259.3 million, or $1.28 a share. Analysts were looking for $1.25 a share. Meanwhile, CIT says it expects to earn between $5.40 and $5.50 a share this year, more than the current Wall Street estimate. Shares were trading up 89 cents, or 1.6%, to $56.53. Commerce Bancorp ( CBH) fell again after a CIBC World Markets analyst downgraded the New Jersey bank to sector perform from outperform. The downgrade comes a day after the regional bank disclosed that government regulators are investigating "transactions with its officers, directors and related parties, including transactions involving bank premises." Shares were down 58 cents, or 1.8%, to $31.25.
Fifth Third ( FITB) slipped after Chairman George Schaefer stepped down as CEO. Kevin Kabat, who has been the bank's president since June 2006, will succeed Schaefer. Shares were down 44 cents, or 1.1%, to $39.91. LaBranche ( LAB) fell on word that the specialist firm, along with six others, will be fined by the New York Stock Exchange for trading violations. LaBranche's penalty will total $600,000. Shares were sliding 21 cents, or 2.2%, to $9.29.