NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- First Niagara Financial Group (FNFG) was falling 9.72% to $9.34 on Friday after the company forecast 2014 earnings could fall under Wall Street estimates.
First Niagara reported that its fourth-quarter profit increased 27% to $77.7 million, but the company said its operating income in 2014 would fall between 72 cents a share and 75 cents a share. Analysts polled by Bloomberg expected on 79 cents a share.
"First Niagara is solid at its core, but we've been underperforming," Chief Executive Officer Gary Crosby, who became interim CEO in March and took the post permanently in December, told analysts on a conference call, according to Bloomberg. Expenses will likely rise, which should reflect "a combination of higher staffing to execute projects and to operate the new product and service platforms, as well as higher technology and depreciation expenses and professional fees."
Crosby added that the spending will to increased revenue in upcoming years.
The stock dropped as much as 12% on Friday, the biggest drop for the Buffalo-based company since Dec. 2008, according to Bloomberg.
TheStreet Ratings team rates First Niagara as a "buy" with a ratings score of B. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:
"We rate FIRST NIAGARA FINANCIAL GRP (FNFG) a BUY. This is driven by multiple strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its compelling growth in net income, attractive valuation levels, good cash flow from operations, solid stock price performance and impressive record of earnings per share growth. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, we feel they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results."