Bank Stocks Slide as Home Sales Decline: Financial Losers

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Regions Financial ( RF) was the loser among the nation's largest banks on Friday, with shares pulling back over 1% to close at $9.94.

The broad indices all ended higher, with Microsoft ( MSFT) among the big winners, adding over 7% to close at $34.77, after CEO Steve Ballmer announced his plan to retire next year.

A particularly bad housing number weighed on the financial sector. The census bureau on Friday said sales of newly constructed single-family houses during July dropped 13% from the previous month, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 394,000.

That ended a mixed bag of housing reports for the week, with a large decline in home refinancing applications, because of rising long-term interest rates, along with a spike in sales of existing homes.

Bank stocks had declined on Wednesday, following the release of the minutes from the most recent meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee, which seemed to indicate that the Federal Reserve might lower its monthly bond purchases as soon as next month.

After showing considerable strength on Thursday, the existing home sales number took the life out of the sector, with the KBW Bank Index ( I:BKX) ended slightly lower at 64.91, with all but six of the 24 index components showing declines.

Shares of BB&T ( BBT) of Winston-Salem, N.C. were down slightly to close at $35.76, after the Federal Reserve approved the bank's revised 2013 capital plan. The original plan had been rejected on "qualitative" grounds, back in March. BB&T later announced no plan to increase dividends or to buy back any common shares through the first quarter of 2014.


Shares of Regions Financial of Birmingham, Ala., have returned 40% this year, following a 67% return during 2012. The shares trade for 1.4 times their reported June 30 tangible book value of $7.11, and for 11.3 times the consensus 2014 earnings estimate of 88 cents a share, among analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. The consensus 2015 EPS estimate is 93 cents.

RF Chart RF data by YCharts

Interested in more on Regions Financial? See TheStreet Ratings' report card for this stock.


-- Written by Philip van Doorn in Jupiter, Fla.

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Philip W. van Doorn is a member of TheStreet's banking and finance team, commenting on industry and regulatory trends. He previously served as the senior analyst for Ratings, responsible for assigning financial strength ratings to banks and savings and loan institutions. Mr. van Doorn previously served as a loan operations officer at Riverside National Bank in Fort Pierce, Fla., and as a credit analyst at the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, where he monitored banks in New York, New Jersey and Puerto Rico. Mr. van Doorn has additional experience in the mutual fund and computer software industries. He holds a bachelor of science in business administration from Long Island University.

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