Comerica Leads on Sleepy Day for Financials

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Comerica (CMA) was one of the few financial stocks that saw above average trading volumes Friday ahead of the Presidents Day weekend.

Shares of Dallas-based Comerica were up by 2.12% to close at $47.63 on volumes of 1.95 million shares as the bank filed its annual 10-K and received an upgrade from Citigroup on expected higher loan growth throughout the U.S. Comerica has averaged 1.38 million shares changing hands each day over the past three months.

"Regional bank stocks have rallied over the past several quarters as they anticipated the benefit to earnings from higher interest rates. While that rally took place despite lackluster loan growth, accelerating loan growth will likely be the next catalyst to the push the stocks higher. Although it is by no means overwhelming, we see enough circumstantial evidence that loan growth may be on the verge of accelerating such that we think investors should increase their exposure to the regional bank space. As a result, we're upgrading CMA to Buy," wrote Citigroup analyst Josh Levin in lifting his Comerica recommendation to buy from neutral.

Other financial stocks were essentially flat. Perennial volume leader Bank of America  (BAC) saw shares fall 0.30% to $16.70.

Economic indicators of note included the University of Michigan Consumer Confidence index, which came in at 81.2 in February compared to expectations for a 1 point drop to 80.2.

"This was unchanged vs. Jan. and just slightly off the top of the recent range. It's notable that confidence was unchanged in light of the pullback in equities seen since the beginning of the year (although there was a bounce in early Feb)," wrote CRT Capital Group government bond strategist Ian Lyngen in a client email.dfcm

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Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks.

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