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US financial stocks slipped in March

U.S. financial stocks lost ground in March, giving back some of the post-election gains enjoyed since last November.

The SNL U.S. Bank & Thrift Index posted a -3.6% return for the month, while the SNL U.S. Insurance Index lost 1.2% and the SNL U.S. Securities and Investment Index lost 2.2%, compared to a 0.1% gain for the S&P 500.

But even after a down month, the SNL U.S. Bank & Thrift Index and the SNL U.S. Securities & Investments Index have outperformed over the last year, posting 42.9% and 31.2% returns, respectively, compared to a 17.2% return for the S&P 500.

For this analysis, S&P Global Market Intelligence only examined U.S. financial institutions traded on a major exchange with a market capitalization above $100 million and an average daily volume greater than 20,000 shares for the last three months.

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Performant Financial Corp. led SNL Financial's financial institution universe with a 62.8% total return in March. On March 29, the company's shares surged 31.7% after the Government Accountability Office announced that it upheld Performant's protest of the Department of Education's decision to not award the company a student loan recovery contract. The company's shares had previously lost 43.0% on Dec. 12, 2016, after the Department's decision was made public.

Everi Holdings Inc. claimed the 2nd spot with a 47.4% return in March. The company's shares price jumped 18.5% on March 15, following the company's earnings release the previous day.

MoneyGram International Inc. took the fifth spot with a 31.7% return in March. The company's shares soared higher on March 14 after Euronet Worldwide Inc. announced an unsolicited bid for the company at $15.20 in cash for each of the company's common and preferred shares outstanding. The bid rivaled a previous $13.25 cash bid made earlier in the year by Ant Financial, which is currently slated to acquire MoneyGram later this year.

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Och-Ziff Capital Management Group LLC posted a 21.3% decline in March, making it the largest underperformer in SNL's financial company universe. The company's shares have suffered lately after reporting fourth-quarter results that J.P. Morgan analyst Kenneth Worthington called "particularly disappointing."

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Click here to view a template on historical total returns

Click here to view a template that provides pricing trends and profitability ratios for financial institutions