Wilmington Trust Shares Plunged: What You Need to Know

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.

Interested in more info on Wilmington Trust? Add it to your watchlist.

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Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned. You can check out what Matt is keeping an eye on by visiting his CAPS portfolio, or you can follow Matt on Twitter @KoppTheFool or on his RSS feed. The Fool’s disclosure policy assures you no Wookiees were harmed in the making of this article.


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