Shares of First Niagara Financial Group of Buffalo, N.Y., are now down 1% year-to-date, following a 5% decline during 2012. Last year's decline was quite significant, when compared to a 30% return for the KBW Bank Index. The shares trade for 1.4 times their reported Dec. 31 tangible book value of $5.65, and for 9.8 times the consensus 2014 earnings estimate of 80 cents a share, among analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. The consensus 2013 EPS estimate is 74 cents. Based on an 8-cent quarterly payout, the shares have a dividend yield of 4.08%. 2012 was a year of major transition for the First Niagara, which added 96 branches year-over-year, after purchasing nearly 195 branches and either selling or consolidating over half of the acquired offices. The company on Jan. 23 reported fourth-quarter operating net income of available to common shareholders of $67.8 million, or 19 cents a share, increasing from $66.5 million, or 19 cents a share, in the third quarter, but declining from $72.1 million, or 24 cents a share, during the fourth quarter of 2011.
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