Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.
What: Shares of bank holding company Wilmington Trust (NYSE: WL ) slid more than 13% in intraday trading on huge volume.
So What: We saw a very different picture at the end of last week. Wilmington's shares spiked on massive volume, on the expectation that the bank was lining itself up for a sale. Wilmington has hired Lazard (NYSE: LAZ ) to advise it in the process, and has reportedly approached Canada's Bank of Montreal (NYSE: BMO ) and Toronto-Dominion (NYSE: TD ) . M&T Bank (NYSE: MTB ) and PNC Financial (NYSE: PNC ) have also been floated as potential buyers. However, investors may be reconsidering the potential for a buyout today, as selling pressure pushes the stock well below the speculative highs.
Now What: The picture is not terribly rosy for Wilmington at this point. The bank has been reporting fairly consistent losses since midway through 2008. While the credit quality of many beaten-down banks has begun to improve, Wilmington's appears to be moving in the wrong direction. A buyout could provide a big, quick bump for speculators, but true-blue investors had better make sure there's something other than a train at the other end of Wilmington's current tunnel. For those more worried about the health of the business than the potential for a buyout, the bank will report earnings early next week.
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