( Updated with stock price moves.) NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- JPMorgan Chase ( JPM) was among the losers of the financial sector Friday, despite an upgrade from a Citigroup analyst. JPMorgan shares were trading lower despite positive comments from Citigroup analyst Keith Horowitz, who raised his rating on JPMorgan shares to buy from hold. The stock's recent underperformance provides investors with an "excellent entry point," Horowitz wrote in a research note Friday. JPMorgan was one of several financial companies losing ground in the aftermath of the White House's renewed push for regulation of the financial industry. On Thursday, President Obama said his administration would work with Congress to ensure that any financial institution that contains a bank does not "own, invest or sponsor" a hedge fund, private equity fund or proprietary trading desk "unrelated to serving customers." Horowitz said that the proposal to limit proprietary trading "would have a limited 2% impact on normalized earnings-per-share" for JPMorgan. Still, shares were down 4% to $38.93. JPMorgan wasn't alone in the red Friday, as several other bank stocks fell on regulation fears. Bank of America ( BAC) slid 4.5% to $14.77, Goldman Sachs ( GS) lost 4.5% to $153.65, and Morgan Stanley ( MS) declined 6.1% to $27.54. Citigroup ( C) shares had bucked the trend earlier in the day, but were down 0.3% to $3.26. Wells Fargo ( WFC) had also traded higher, but were losing 2.8% to $27.21. Investors were also sifting through earnings from several financial companies. Late Thursday, American Express ( AXP) reported fourth-quarter earnings of 60 cents a share, beating Wall Street estimates that called for a profit of 57 cents a share.
American Express said it recorded a $748 million provision for credit losses, down 47% from the year-earlier period. The decline reflected continued improvement in credit quality during the latter part of 2009, American Express said. Also after Thursday's closing bell, Capital One Financial ( COF) posted a fourth-quarter profit of 83 cents a share, also on lower provisioning levels for loan losses. Howeverl, American Express shares were down 8.5% to $38.56 and Capital One fell 11.1% to $37.97 after FBR Capital Markets analysts cut their earnings estimates, citing shrinking margins and new U.S. credit-card regulations. On Friday, SunTrust Banks ( STI) notched a fourth-quarter loss of 64 cents a share, although that number shrank from the year-ago loss of $1.07 a share and was narrower than the Thomson Reuters average estimate for a loss of 75 cents a share. Revenue rose just over 1% to $1.95 billion, also that was below the consensus target of $2.06 billion. SunTrust dipped 0.2% to $24.47. Meanwhile, BB&T ( BBT) reported a fourth-quarter profit of 27 cents a share, which was slashed nearly in half from a year ago but still better than the Thomson Reuters average estimate. The bank said its provision for credit losses rose by $197 million from a year ago to $725 million. BB&T was falling 3.2% to $28.15. Huntington Bancshares ( HBAN) rose 0.8% to $4.57. Earlier, the bank said its fourth-quarter loss narrowed to 56 cents a share, although that was worse than analysts had expected. Although Huntington expanded its loan-loss reserve to $894 million, shares traded higher after the bank said it expects to return to profitability some time during 2010.
Away from earnings, Symetra Financial ( SYA) debuted on the New York Stock Exchange Friday after its initial public offering of 27 million shares priced at the low end of its range of $12 to $14 a share. The insurer, which counts Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway ( BRK-A) as its largest investor, opened trading Friday at $12.70 and was lately up to $12.90 after touching an intraday high of $13.50. Elsewhere, Fannie Mae ( FNM) and Freddie Mac ( FRE) tumbled after Rep. Barney Frank (D-Ma.) said during a House Financial Services Committee meeting on executive compensation that both companies cannot exist in their current form. "This committee will be recommending abolishing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in their current form and coming up with a whole new system of housing finance, that's the approach rather than the piecemeal one," Frank said, according to a CNBC transcript. On Friday, The Wall Street Journal reported on Republicans call to bring Fannie's and Freddie's obligations onto the government's books, noting that the losses may hit the U.S. The Congressional Budget Office is calling on the White House to bring Fannie and Freddie onto the federal budget, the Journal reported, which would effectively mean accounting for their operations in the federal budget as if they were federal agencies. Fannie shares were losing 6.5% to $1, and Freddie was down 9.2% to $1.19. -- Written by Robert Holmes in Boston. Follow Robert Holmes on Twitter and become a fan of TheStreet.com on Facebook.