Two of Middle Tennessee's more prominent stocks hit new longtime highs Tuesday on the back of a broader market rally based on an easing in the Ukraine crisis. The region's most valuable company, HCA Holdings, hit $52.49 in early trading, its highest level since going public again almost four years ago. The company is now worth more than $22.7 billion. Over in the banking sector, investors in Pinnacle Financial Partners saw their holdings climb more than 4 percent to top $37 for the first time since September of 2006. The largest bank headquartered in Music City has been rallying steadily for more than a year is now valued at a little more than $1.3 billion.
Pinnacle Financial Partners plans to add to its retail network in Knoxville this year with the building of a branch scheduled to open in the second half. Execs have their eyes on a site in the Powell area northwest of downtown but have not yet closed on their purchase. The office will be Pinnacle's fifth in Knoxville, where it first began doing business in 2007 and where it now ranks sixth in deposit market share. The company (Ticker: PNFP) also is adding 2,000 square feet of space to its main Knoxville office on Northshore Boulevard. The new office will house employees of its trust and Pinnacle Asset Management groups as well as client advisors.
Two analysts are expecting good things from Pinnacle Financial Partners following the company's fourth-quarter report, which pumped up the stock by 7 percent Wednesday. At Sterne Agee, Peyton Green has raised his rating to 'buy' from 'hold,' while Jefferson Harralson at Keefe Bruyette & Woods now rates the stock at 'outperform,' up from 'market perform.' Harralson now sees Pinnacle (Ticker: PNFP) going to $40 instead of $30; the stock ended Wednesday's session at $34.50.
Cory Garcia at Raymond James isn't as upbeat about the prospects for Delek US Holdings shares for a number reasons. In downgrading the stock (Ticker: DK), Garcia cites both valuation and a lack of near-term catalysts for the refining sector in general. Delek shares closed Wednesday at $32.51 and have climbed more than 20 percent in the past three months.
Pinnacle Financial Partners has recruited veteran investment consultant Rhett Fordham to its Mallory Lane office in Cool Springs. Fordham, who is a senior vice president, has a dozen years of experience, most recently as a VP and investment executive at Fifth Third Securities. Before that, he also worked as a regional VP for Riversource Annuities in Minneapolis and as a licensed sales assistant for SunTrust Investment Services.
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