4 Financial Stock Stories to Close Out a Tumultuous Trading Week

Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE:WFC): Current price $42.82

The job contraction at Wells Fargo is not over. As was first reported by The Charlotte Observer, the number-one mortgage lender will slash more positions in its home lending division as a refinancing slump continues to pound the industry. On Wednesday, Wells gave 60-day layoff notices to 925 employees, bringing the total number of mortgage job eliminations to about 6,200 since July. In a Thursday statement, a company spokeswoman said that, “We are committed to retaining as many team members as possible, working with them to identify other opportunities within Wells Fargo.”

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Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS): Current price $29.66

Despite Morgan Stanley attaining the ratio it had hoped to reach when it set a $1.6-billion reduction target, the firm is not finished with its cost-reduction measures. Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat observed during a conference call that the bank’s third-quarter costs were less than 79 percent of its revenue, subtracting higher-than-usual litigation expenses. Earlier in 2013, the bank laid out a goal of lowering annual expenses by $1.6 billion, which implied an expense ratio at 79 percent.

Porat commented that, “We’ve achieved it, but we’re only partially the way through executing it. The math would say that we’re there, but we are continuing to execute on the programs that we identified back at the end of 2012, so we’re feeling very good about our ability to continue to reduce the expense base.”

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Huntington Bancshares Inc. (NASDAQ:HBAN): Current price $8.97

On Friday, Huntington announced that its board has declared a quarterly cash dividend on its 8.50 percent Series A Non-Cumulative Perpetual Convertible Preferred Stock of $21.25 per share. This dividend is payable January 15 to  shareholders of record on January 1. Besides that, the board declared a quarterly cash dividend on its Floating Rate Series B Non-Cumulative Perpetual Preferred Stock (CUSIP #446150500) of $7.359 per share, equivalent to $.1839750 per depositary receipt share. The dividend is also payable January to shareholders of record as of January 1.

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The Blackstone Group LP (NYSE:BX): Current price $27.72

Blackstone’s Vivint Solar Inc announced Thursday that it has raised $540 million to finance its rapidly-growing business of installing solar panels on home rooftops. The funds were supplied by two undisclosed “major financial institutions” and are an addition to the $200 million in financing that Vivint announced in August. Through a statement, Chief Executive Greg Butterfield said that the funds will help back Vivint’s growth.

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