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Financial Stocks Round-Up: Wells Fargo Gains Ahead of Shareholder Meeting

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Major banks are bidding on the Fed's Maiden Lane assets and Wells Fargo is taking heat from community activists for supporting predatory lenders and for-profit prisons.

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MINYANVILLE EXCLUSIVE: After falling across the board yesterday, the US financial sector is rebounding, with the biggest gains coming from Goldman Sachs (GS) and Wells Fargo (WFC).

Bullish US economic data released today helped the sector rebound from yesterday's drop. New home sales proceeded at a faster-than-expected rate in March. The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index showed a 0.2% monthly gain in home prices in February and the FHFA House Price Index also showed that home prices are stabilizing. The latter index showed a 0.3% monthly gain in February, a 0.4% increase over the year prior.

The Netherlands also had a successful auction of short- and long-term bonds at reasonable interest rates, a vote of confidence from the debt market in the Netherlands' ability to balance its budget.

Today, Alabama-based Regions Financial (RF) reported that it doubled first quarter profit over last year and beat Wall Street's estimates. The bank's provision for losses on loans fell to $117 million from $482 million the year before and $295 million in the fourth quarter of 2011. Regions' shares rose 5.91% today, far above the 0.80% rise in the Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLF).The KBW Bank Index (^BKX), which tracks 24 US banks, rose 0.87%.

Wells Fargo announced today that it has closed the deal with BNP Paribas (BNPQY) to acquire the French bank's North American reserved-based and related diversified energy lending business. Today, the San Francisco-based bank will hold its shareholder meeting. A community group called 99% Power will protest from within the meeting as well as outside it. About 100 members of the group own Wells Fargo shares. The group will protest the bank's investment in predatory payday lenders and the GEO Group (GEO), a private prison company.

Bloomberg reports that Bank of America (BAC) and Morgan Stanley (MS) are preparing a joint $7.49 billion bid for the Federal Reserve's Maiden Lane portfolio of commercial real-estate securities. The debts are composed of CDOs issued by Deutsche Bank (DB). The Fed ended up with these after rescuing AIG (AIG). Citigroup (C), Goldman Sachs, and Credit Suisse (CS) are also planning on a joint bid for the securities.

Twitter: @vincent_trivett

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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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