• Potential Split Could Create New Opportunities and Increase Shareholder Value

    By Mike Thiessen - June 11, 2013 | Tickers: BAC, KEY, SLM

    Through its board of directors, once-mighty student lender SLM Corporation (NASDAQ: SLM) has received official permission to execute a long-anticipated spin-off. The split would separate SLM's education loan management division from its student loan origination business and create two smaller companies that would operate in tighter, better-defined niches. It may be the surest sign yet that the American higher education sector will face tremendous challenges in the years ahead more »

  • 3 Regional Banks Priced to Buy

    By Daniel Paterson - June 3, 2013 | Tickers: GSBC, KEY, UMPQ

    I have seen a few articles lately hinting at the fact that the market is headed for downturn as retail investors, often referred to as Mom & Pop in these bearish outlooks, rush to dump their cash back into equities. I am assuming that the grounds for this assumption are that the average retail investor is uneducated, destined to pour their hard earned and meticulously saved dollars into some overvalued blue more »

  • What Is This Value Investor Buying?

    By Meena Krishnamsetty - May 24, 2013 | Tickers: BAM, DVN, FCE-A, KEY, BK

    Martin Whitman, a value investor, founded Third Avenue Management in 1990. Third Avenue currently has over $10 billion worth of assets under management.

    By doing fundamental research on companies, the fund attempts to find stocks that are “safe,” i.e. understandable businesses with stable financials that also sell at a discount to their intrinsic value.

    The fund recently filed its first quarter 13F with the SEC, describing some of its more »

  • Regional Banks Continue to Perform Well

    By Bob Ciura - May 22, 2013 | Tickers: FITB, KEY, NYCB

    Regional banks, those that cater to a particular section of the nation as opposed to their bulge-bracket peers, might fly under the radar of investors interested in buying bank stocks. While nearly all the coverage of bank stocks from the financial media pertains to the banking giants of the United States, investors would be wise to dig deeper into smaller regional banks that are performing well and aren’t under more »

  • 5 Dividend Boosts Worth Noting

    By Brian Nichols - May 21, 2013 | Tickers: COH, KEY, TIS, SPTN, TEL

    Last week we saw countless companies declare their quarterly dividend, and a select few that elected to increase their yield compared to last year. In this piece I am looking at five that might present a good investment opportunity to shareholders.

    For this particular piece, I am using one of the value-seeking strategies found in my book, Taking Charge With Value Investing (McGraw-Hill, 2013) -- seeking value in stocks that trade more »

  • A Good High Yielding Small Cap Banking Stock

    By Anh HOANG - May 16, 2013 | Tickers: FNFG, KEY, TRST

    At the end of April, Joseph Lucarelli, the Independent Director of TrustCo Bank (NASDAQ: TRST) accumulated 100,000 shares of this savings and loan holding company in a total transaction worth $535,000. Interestingly, Chuck Royce, the small-cap investing guru, also accumulated more than 6.1 million shares of this company. Since the market bottom of 2009, TrustCo Bank has fluctuated in the range of $3.95 to more than more »

  • An Insider Is Buying, Should You?

    By Meena Krishnamsetty - April 30, 2013 | Tickers: FITB, FMER, HBAN, KEY, PNC

    According to a Form 4 filed with the SEC, Russ Strobel, who is a member of FirstMerit's (NASDAQ: FMER) Board of Directors, directly acquired 5,000 shares of stock on April 25 at prices of about $17 per share. This gave him about 9,100 total shares of the $1.9 billion market cap Midwestern bank in his direct holdings, a large increase in percentage terms.

    Why pay attention more »

  • Why This Bank Is Among the Best of the Breed

    By Dave Zaegel - April 27, 2013 | Tickers: OZRK, BBT, KEY, RF

    It's time again to review one of my favorite and easiest stocks to recommend: Bank of the Ozarks (NASDAQ: OZRK). Bank of the Ozarks operates just over 100 banks in the southern U.S., primarily in Arkansas and Georgia. This stock has been a model of consistency and market outperformance. Even when the market got smacked in 2008 and early 2009, Bank of the Ozarks barely budged. Since then more »

  • Apple, Key Corp.: We’re Watching This Hedge Fund

    By Meena Krishnamsetty - April 17, 2013 | Tickers: AAPL, CLWR, CMA, KEY, WHR

    Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) is one of the smart money’s favorite stocks, and despite its selloff in recent months, it was still one of the most popular investments among the managers we watch heading into 2013. Yes, AIG overtook Apple at the end of last year—in terms of short-term appreciative performance and popularity—but it’s still worth pointing out which hedge fund managers hold Apple in their portfolios more »

  • Two Stress-Test Winners That May be Flying Under Your Radar

    By Bob Ciura - March 14, 2013 | Tickers: FITB, KEY, NYCB

    In the aftermath of the Federal Reserve stress-testing the nation’s banks, most investors likely have an understanding of where the biggest banks currently stand. However, while America’s bulge-bracket financial institutions have been hampered by issues ranging from legal settlements to massive trading losses, there are a number of smaller banks that are doing very well.

    Regional banks, which offer financial services to a particular region of the United more »

  • Consider Regional Banks for Value and Income

    By Bob Ciura - February 11, 2013 | Tickers: HBAN, KEY, NYCB

    The prospect of investing in banks probably brings up the usual suspects for most investors; namely, the nation’s biggest bulge-bracket banks usually come to mind for any investor considering the financial services sector.  However, while America’s biggest banks have been hampered by issues ranging from legal settlements to massive trading losses, there are a number of smaller banks that are doing quite well.  Regional banks, which are banks more »

  • Why Keycorp, the Beaten Down Stock, Is a Good Buy at This Level?

    By Shas Dey - January 16, 2013 | Tickers: FRC, HBAN, KEY, MTB, ZION

    Banks took the worst hit in the financial crisis of 2008-2009 when it came to light that they did not adhere to established standards for loan underwriting and their exotic and creative products turned out to be nothing more than greed-oriented fancy schemes.

    However, after three years and government bail-outs and some restructuring, some welcome stories are unfolding in the banking sector, particularly in regional banks. KeyCorp (NYSE: KEY), the more »

  • Why Barron's is Wrong on PNC Financial

    By John Macris - January 4, 2013 | Tickers: KEY, PNC, KRE, USB | Editor's Choice

    I’d like to open this piece by wishing readers a healthy and prosperous New Year. During a holiday flight home from Fort Lauderdale, FL to Cleveland, OH, I had the opportunity to read the December 24 issue of Barron’s Magazine. One of the cover stories titled PNC’s Promising Outlook caught my eye, as PNC served as my hometown bank in the Midwest and has an expanding presence more »

  • Do You Own This Best-of-Breed Regional Bank?

    By Meena Krishnamsetty - December 15, 2012 | Tickers: BBT, HBAN, KEY, PNC, STI

    Huntington Bancshares (NASDAQ: HBAN) is one of the better turnaround stories in the regional banking industry. The bank has seen the largest decline in book value over the last five years at 15% when compared to its major peers. At the height of the financial crisis the bank decided to reorganize its business model, starting with an overhaul of management. The other fundamental change included a shift from geographical expansion more »

  • Is Small the New Big?

    By Declan Fallon - September 10, 2012 | Tickers: HCBK, KEY, MTB, PNC

    M&T Bank Corp (NYSE: MTB) is a Thrift bank which belongs to the underappreciated Regional banking sector, sometimes tarred by the same brush which took down its larger brethren.  M&T stock has been particularly low key, running between $65 and $87 since early 2010.  But last week saw this change with a powerful move past $87 on huge volume after its announced its acquisition of Hudson City Bancshares more »

  • M&T Bancorp A Stable Top-Tier Stock To Buy For Income

    By Maxwell Fisher - September 6, 2012 | Tickers: HCBK, KEY, MTB, USB

    The first big banking deal of 2012 recently occurred, when beleaguered Hudson City Bancorp (NASDAQ: HCBK) agreed to be purchased by M&T Bank (NYSE: MTB) in a deal valued at about $3.7 billion, a 12% premium to Hudson City's closing valuation the day before the merger was announced.

    It saddens me how Hudson City has reached this point. Not so many years ago, it was earning over more »

  • 4 Financial Stocks to Buy Now: 1 May Double in Value

    By David Gould - August 21, 2012 | Tickers: KEY, RF, USB, WFC

    Due to a significant level of perceived risk, financials are trading at unusually low levels compared to the broader market. While the Shiller PE ratio currently stands at 21.4x, financials are commonly priced below 10x earnings. Growth expectations may not be the greatest, but they are enough to offer a substantially high margin of safety. High betas will also help drive outperformance in the event of a quicker-than-expected full more »

  • Bank of America's Retreat from Mortgage Lending

    By Peter Horn - August 2, 2012 | Tickers: BAC, JPM, KEY, USB, WFC

    Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) reported improved earnings recently, on the reduced impact of one-time charges.  Tucked among the quarter’s highlights was an 18% increase in first-lien mortgage originations.  That increase surprised me, since B of A has been slowing their residential mortgage lending.  In December 2009, we refinanced our mortgage with them.  We’re not a prime market nationally, but we’re in a fairly wealthy area for more »

  • A Diamond in the Rough

    By Dave Zaegel - July 24, 2012 | Tickers: OZRK, BBT, KEY, RF

    Q2 2012 results show a powerful combination of growth and quality.  Volume (loans and deposits) are increasing, while quality (net interest margin and non-performing loans) are outstanding.

  • Marty Whitman’s Top Stock Picks

    By Meena Krishnamsetty - February 23, 2012 | Tickers: KEY, BK, USB

    From the time he started his career on Wall Street at Shearson Hammill & Co., Marty Whitman had no interest in the short-term earnings and simple analysis on Wall Street. The founder of Third Avenue Management believes that underpriced companies can be found among those with strong balance sheets, and his strategy has led him to a distinguished career -- Whitman was a Distinguished Management Fellow at Yale School of Management and more »

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