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Wednesday's Bank Stocks: Banks can counter low rates by lending more, says analyst

Miami Lakes, Fla.-based BankUnitedInc. fell 6.38% to $30.66 by the end of business, trading at more than4x its three-month average volume, after its earnings release.The company reported second-quarternet income of $56.7 million, or 52 cents per share, compared to $46.6 million, or43 cents per share, for the second quarter a year ago.

Rafferty Capital Markets analyst Satyam Arora believes that thestock is being punished mainly because of "the company's pessimism over itsloan growth." During its earningscall, Chairman, President and CEO John Kanas said the company will mostprobably not see consistent loan growth in the second half of 2016.

Arora noted that the company recorded a significant increasein its loan loss provision, while it kept an eye on poor lending practices concerningcommercial real estate loans,recently flagged by theOCC. The analyst added that the company mainly missed Street expectations becauseof the increase in loan loss provision.

Commenting on the ongoing bank earnings season overall, the analystnoted that a lot of companies are beating Street estimates — which is a positive— while most of them are also complaining about regulatory problems and highlightinglowinterest rate scenarios. However, Arora believes that the banks can make upfor the low-rate environment by increasing their loan volume.

Bank stocks closed slightly higher Wednesday, July 20, whilethrift stocks slipped. The SNL U.S. Bank Index grew 0.14% to 401.21 and the SNLU.S. Thrift Index ticked down 0.31% to 796.48.

The broader markets also ended the session on higher ground,with the Dow Jones Industrial Average advancing 0.19% to 18,595.03, the S&P500 increasing 0.43% to 2,173.02 and the Nasdaq composite index hiking 1.06% to5,089.93.

In economic news, mortgageapplications were down 1.3% week over week on a seasonally adjustedbasis for the week ended July 15, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported. Themarket composite index, which measures mortgage application volume, was up 24% onan unadjusted basis compared to the previous week.

Among large-cap banks, JPMorganChase & Co. inched up 0.11% to $63.93, Citigroup Inc. increased 0.27% to $44.47, gained 0.98% to $14.40,and Wells Fargo & Co.added 0.50% to $48.61.

On the earnings front, NorthernTrust Corp. dipped 0.95% to $66.47, as the Chicago-based company reportedsecond-quarter net incomeapplicable to common stock of $254.9 million, compared to $263.4 million in theyear-ago period.

M&T Bank Corp.reported second-quarternet income available to common shareholders of $313.0 million, or $1.98 per share.The Buffalo, N.Y.-based company's shares dropped 4.14% to $113.81, at the close.

Signature Bankfell 4.55% to $124.04, as the New York-based company faced another round of questionssurrounding its taxi medallion portfolio after a provision for Chicago taxi loansled its second-quarterearnings to miss several analysts' estimates.

Chemical FinancialCorp. ticked up 0.33% to $39.24, amid news that the company's shareholdershad approved the plannedmerger of equals with Talmer BancorpInc.. Talmer closed 0.05% higher at $20.11.

In the thrift space, Westbury, N.Y.-based New York Community Bancorp Inc. slid 1.34% to $14.78, andLake Success, N.Y.-based Astoria FinancialCorp. ticked down 1.05% to $15.03. San Diego-based added 1.28% to $16.62,and Cleveland-based TFS FinancialCorp. (MHC) decreased 0.11% to $17.76.

Market prices and indexvalues are current as of the time of publication and are subject to change.