NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- MetLife ( MET) is lifting financial stocks from their lows in early Friday trading. The stock is gaining 3.9%, or $1.56, to $41.73, following its better-than-expected earnings report after the bell on Thursday. Its peer, Genworth Financial ( GNW), is a big loser among financial stocks on Friday. Genworth also announced results after the bell on Thursday, but missed estimates as earnings from its life insurance segment fell 45%. Markets are punishing the stock, sending it lower by 13.5% to $13.66. New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said on Thursday that he was launching an investigation into the life insurance industry's practice of retaining funds in interest-bearing accounts until beneficiaries request the money, and earning the bulk of the higher return.
Subpoenas have reportedly been issued to several life insurers, including MetLife and Genworth, though neither firms have received the subpoena yet according to the Wall Street Journal reports. MetLife and other insurers are strongly defending the practice, saying that it helps consumers who are not ready to make big investment decisions. The big banks are seeing muted action following news that the economy grew slower than expected at 2.4% in the second quarter. Bank of America ( BAC) is rising by 1% or 14 cents to $14.17. Goldman Sachs ( GS) and JP Morgan ( JPM) were trading moderately positive. Citigroup ( C) is lower by 0.4% or 1 cent to $4.11, while Wells Fargo ( WFC) and Morgan Stanley ( MS) were also trading flat.
Select mid-cap regional banks were in the limelight on Friday. Whitney Holding ( WTNY) is up 2.5% at $8.02. BancorpSouth ( BXS) is another prominent gainer, up 3.5% at $14.51. The stock was a big loser the previous week when it announced poor results. A notable loser in the category was Susquehanna Bancshares ( SUSQ) down 2.3% at $8.66. --Reported by Shanthi Venkataraman in New York. Follow TheStreet.com on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.