European banks (NYSE:KBE) bolted out the gates at the market open from news of the eur0-zone agreement. Sector stocks enjoying the run included Deutsche Bank AG (NYSE:DB), Barclays PLC (NYSE:BCS), and Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc (NYSE:RBS).
Even without their direct exposure to the contentious Greek bonds, U.S. bank stocks celebrated the euro-zone’s debt deal from the European banks’ momentum and soaring stock prices. Stocks joining the party included Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF (NYSE:XLF), Bank of America Corporation (NYSE:BAC), Citigroup Inc. (NYSE:C), JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) and Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS).
MasterCard Incorporated (NYSE:MA) and regional bank Huntington Bancshares Incorporated (HBAN) announced a deal that has Huntington converting its debit card program over to MasterCard and upgrading its customers to a MasterCard-brand Platinum debit card; this will replace its current 1.5 million Visa (NYSE:V) debit cards. The conversion is expected to be completed by Nov. 1.
JPMorgan Chase (JPM) recently approached the Fed about a potential share buy back but received a discouraging response to do so; the bank subsequently dropped it. The opposition shows a cautious regulatory stance with bank capital requirements. While banks are looking to use spare cash to make shareholders happy, regulators are saying not so fast with the buyback and dividend requests.
American International Group (NYSE:AIG) announced plans to sell about half its stake in pan-Asian life insurer AIA in the next few weeks. When its one-year lockup expires this week, AIG will only be allowed to sell a secondary offering of approximately $6 billion of AIA shares in Hong Kong. Sale proceeds will help the company pay its government bailout debt and rid the company from some volatility on its books.
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