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US banks trading at the lowest price-to-adjusted tangible book value in December

U.S. banking stocks got routed in December 2018, underperforming the broader market. Last month, the median total return of the banks and thrifts in the S&P Global Market Intelligence analysis was negative 12.7% and the market-cap weighted SNL U.S. Bank and Thrift index lost 14.3% of its value. The S&P 500's total return was negative 9.0% in December 2018.

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The "Big 4" U.S. banks were unable to avoid the market carnage, as each of them experienced double-digit percentage dips in the month. Citigroup Inc., which traded at the seventh lowest price-to-adjusted tangible book value as of Dec. 31, 2018, was the weakest performer in this group, with a negative total return of about 20%. Bank of America Corp., Wells Fargo & Co. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. declined 12.7%, 15.1% and 12.2%, respectively. Only JPMorgan was trading at a premium to the industry median at the end of 2018.

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First Internet Bancorp ended 2018 as the lowest-priced U.S. banking stock in the analysis by P/ATBV, at 70.8%. A year earlier, the stock had traded at 144.6% of ATBV. The company announced a $10 million share repurchase plan on Dec. 19, 2018.

Coral Gables, Fla.-based Mercantil Bank Holding Corp. was No. 2 on the list, with a P/ATBV of 74.1%. The company closed an initial public offering of class A shares and repurchased class B shares last month.

Entering the December list were Santa Ana, Calif.-based Banc of California Inc., Troy, Mich.-based Flagstar Bancorp Inc., McLean, Va.-based Capital One Financial Corp., Miami Lakes, Fla.-based BankUnited Inc. and Franklin, Tenn.-based Franklin Financial Network Inc.

The five exits from the list were Renton, Wash.-based First Financial Northwest Inc., Woodbridge, N.J.-based Northfield Bancorp Inc., Stroudsburg, Pa.-based ESSA Bancorp Inc., Toano, Va.-based C&F Financial Corp. and Louisville, Ky.-based Limestone Bancorp Inc.

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