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Fresh off an IPO, Holdings leads US financial stocks in December

California-based Holdings Inc. led U.S. financial stocks in December 2019, returning 73.0% for the month, far above the industry median total return of 2.4%.

The payment processor completed its initial public offering and began trading on Dec. 12, 2019.

Another payment processor, Diebold Nixdorf Inc., had the second-strongest performance in December 2019, returning 45.3%. Specialty finance company EZCORP Inc. had the third-best return at 33.2%.

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Shares in Southfield, Mich.-based Sterling Bancorp Inc. posted the lowest return among all financial institutions in the analysis, dropping 16.4% last month. Shares in the bank plummeted on Dec. 9, 2019, after the company announced that its subsidiary, Sterling Bank and Trust FSB, voluntarily and temporarily suspended its Advantage Loan program while it conducts an internal review of the program’s documentation procedures. According to the company, its Advantage program is a "material" portion of the bank's loan originations and if the lost production is not replaced in a timely manner, Sterling's operations could be "materially affected."

Digital lender LendingTree Inc. fell the second-most at 15.8%, followed by investment bank B. Riley Financial Inc. with its 13.8% loss.

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This analysis is limited to major exchange-traded U.S. financial stocks with a market cap of at least $100 million and an average daily volume of more than 20,000 shares.