SunTrust: Financial Loser

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- SunTrust ( STI) was the loser among large U.S. banks on Friday, with shares sliding 1.5% to close at $34.97.

The broad indices all ended lower on a light day for economic news.

The Commerce Department reported that seasonally adjusted sales U.S. wholesalers during June were up 0.4% from May, and had increased 5.6% from June 2012. Wholesale inventories were down 0.2%, following a 0.5% decline during May. Economists polled by Thomson Reuters had on average expected wholesale inventories to rise by 0.4%.

The Labor Department on Friday said that the four-week moving average for initial unemployment claims declined last week to 333,500, which was close to being the lowest level since late 2007. While the week-to-week unemployment claims numbers have been typically volatile this summer, the U.S. unemployment situation appears to have turned the corner, according to Deutsche Bank's research team.

The Labor Department last Friday said the U.S. unemployment rate had improved to 7.4% in July from 7.6% in June.

"From 1990 to present, a level of 336k on claims has been consistent with an unemployment rate closer to 5.5% (based on a simple linear regression)," Deutsche Bank's analysts wrote in a note to clients on Friday. "In the last labor market recovery after the 2001 recession, when claims finally dropped to similar levels in November 2004, the unemployment rate was 5.4%. As a result, if claims remain near recent levels, the unemployment rate is poised for significant further improvement," the analysts wrote.

The KBW Bank Index ( I:BKX) was down 0.4% to close at 65.33, with all but four of the 24 index components down for the session.

SunTrust

SunTrust of Atlanta and MetLife ( MET) on Monday announced a three-year agreement for the bank to finance up to $5 billion in commercial real estate loans to be originated and managed by MetLife. The insurer recently launched an asset management business for institutional clients, focusing on real estate investing.

SunTrust reported second-quarter net income available to common shareholders of $365 million, or 68 cents a share, increasing from $340 million, or 63 cents a share, the previous quarter, and $270 million, or 50 cents a share, a year earlier.

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