What happened

Synchrony Financial (NYSE:SYF) shareholders outperformed a surging market last month. The stock gained 23% compared to a 13% increase for the S&P 500, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

The financial services specialist's shares, down over 50% through early May, are still deeply in the red so far in 2020.

A woman holding a credit card with her right hand while holding her smartphone with her left hand.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Investors' gained a bit more confidence that the Federal Reserve could avoid a financial crisis during the initial impact of COVID-19 on the economy. Synchrony added to that optimism with some good news of its own.

The company revealed worsening profit and efficiency metrics in the fiscal first quarter that were mainly related to higher expected credit losses among its retailing partners. Yet Synchrony maintained its dividend and showed increasing deposits through late March. "The underlying strength of our business and balance sheet," CEO Margaret Keane said in a press release, "will enable us to navigate these uncertain times."

Now what

The financial stock is still likely to see some major writedowns and charges related to the sharp economic slowdown that gained steam in April. That situation all but ensures profit and revenue challenges in the fiscal second quarter. Still, Synchrony appears to be weathering the early phase of the COVID-19 crisis without too much stress on the business.