Cat Financial begins the climb

Fourth-quarter profits at Caterpillar Financial more than tripled to $43 million from the dark days of late 2008 as yields rose and credit quality improved slightly. New financings were down "just" 29 percent from the year before, half the drop of the previous three quarters. SEE ALSO: 'Bullwhip' Hits Firms as Growth Snaps Back
Jan 27, 2010 8:50 AM

An institutional buyer at Tennessee Commerce?

It appears Tennessee Commerce's optimism on credit quality has attracted some attention from the investment community. A few days does not a solid trend make, but it's worth pointing out that the stock (Ticker: TNCC) has risen strongly on volume that has averaged almost triple the norm. Since the morning of the 20th, volume has average almost 49,000 shares versus about 30,000 in the days following the bank's Q3 report. SEE ALSO: Top Tennessee Commerce investor was big Q4 seller
Jan 27, 2010 8:05 AM

Regions disappoints on credit quality

The fourth quarter brought more nonperforming assets and higher loan loss provisions at Regions Financial, which posted a $606 million loss for the last three months of 2009. The Street had been looking for a loss of 34 cents, but it got 51 cents. Regions shares (Ticker: RF) fell 7 percent Tuesday and were down another 1.3 percent after hours.
Jan 27, 2010 7:49 AM

For big banks, worst appears over

The earnings being turned in by U.S. banking titans are decidedly mixed, but it looks like there will be no more disasters. Still, Paul Miller at FBR told CNBC this morning that economic growth needs to rebound for these companies to regain a real measure of health.
Miller said investors should focus more on banks' top-line revenue and outlook than their earnings. "I think investors have accepted the fact that credit costs are going to be high and elevated for a long period of time, but the issue is can they earn themselves out of it," he said.
Jan 20, 2010 1:27 PM

GreenBank sees some light

Green Bankshares reported a small fourth-quarter loss this morning, mostly due to a marked improvement in its loan loss provision. The bank holding company continued to shrink its Middle Tennessee loan book, cutting more than $40 million from its regional portfolio in late 2009. Since the middle of 2008, the company (Ticker: GRNB) has reduced its Nashville-area loan exposure by almost $207 million even as it has grown its deposit base by $70 million to just over $1 billion.
Jan 20, 2010 11:24 AM

First Horizon still restructuring, moving forward

First Horizon this morning reported fourth-quarter losses of $52.8 million, or 32 cents per diluted share. Analysts had been looking for a loss of just 21 cents, but First Horizon's numbers include a restructuring charge as large as those the company took in the four previous quarters combined. Shares of First Horizon (Ticker: FHN) are set to start the day down slightly. Other highlights: Credit losses are holding steady with annualized charge-offs at 4 percent of total loans, although the company's loan loss reserves fell by half from a year ago. And better loan pricing lifted the net interest margin in the company's regional-bank unit to almost 5 percent.
Jan 19, 2010 8:40 AM

Analyst: Look for Pinnacle to miss

It's one of the more off-hand, matter-of-fact statements you'll see in an analyst note, but in an update of Tennessee's housing markets, Jeff Davis at FTN Equity Capital Markets says he expects Pinnacle to miss the Street's consensus estimate when it reports fourth-quarter earnings on the 19th. That would continue a trend from 2009, when Pinnacle shares (Ticker: PNFP) fell almost 50 percent.
Jan 11, 2010 8:16 AM

A BlackRock bull bellows

Gene Marcial talks with Bob Doll, the very optimistic chief investment officer at BlackRock who sees above-average growth powering equity valuations higher.
In fact, Doll is most encouraged about how "lean and mean" U.S. companies have become. This gives him confidence that they'll deliver earnings and results that will exceed analysts' estimates. And to keep growing, businesses will have to start hiring again.
Dec 30, 2009 9:51 AM

Dollar General previews large Q4 charges

We just got the company's Q3 report, but it's not too early to tell you that Dollar General's fourth-quarter numbers will be messy. As part of its IPO last month, the retailer (Ticker: DG) ended its monitoring agreement with KKR and Goldman Sachs by paying them almost $60 million — which will show up as a one-time charge in the Q4 numbers. (Search for '58.8.') The company also will take a loss of $51 million on the buyback of some of its debt and another $9 million on the early vesting of some stock awards. What else can we expect from Dollar General in the coming months? Morningstar.com's Zoe Tan sees costs rising and sales growth slowing as the economy picks up some steam and comps become tougher.
Dec 11, 2009 8:06 AM

Symbion's strategy

The ambulatory surgery center company discussed its plans for improving its sluggish performance on today's third-quarter conference call, after posting a Q3 loss. A new purchasing agreement should help with cost management, while a heavier focus on physician recruitment and service line development is aimed at growing same-store revenues.
Nov 13, 2009 2:36 PM
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