Yes, we know that KeyCorp (NYSE:KEY) reported $0.21 in earnings per share in its fourth-quarter earnings announcement this morning. But while the market was focusing on that number, it missed what was really important in KeyCorp's quarter.
What you missed
The market seems to be reacting negatively to the reduction in net income during the quarter. After reporting $214 in net income during the last quarter, net income declined to $193 million during the fourth quarter. Part of the decline was due to $16 million in costs associated with its "Fit for Growth" initiative. While this program ideally will make the bank more efficient and profitable down the road, we may still see costs associated with its implementation in the coming quarters.
Beyond the earnings
I think that it's odd that the market is reacting as it is. Everything seems to be up from the fourth quarter of last year. Net interest income increased 7.8% since December 2011, primarily driven by a 24-basis-point increase in net interest margin. Average total loans were also up 6.6% over the course of the year, led by commercial and industrial loan growth over 21%. Finally, total deposits also saw a gain during the year, up a total of 7.3%.
So what is scaring investors off? Nonperforming loans increased slightly during the quarter, but I don't think that it was material enough to warrant the kind of reaction KeyCorp has received this morning. It truly appears that the slight retreat in net income is responsible for the market's reaction, and I think the reaction is a little bit of an overreaction.
An opportunity presents itself
There wasn't a whole lot not to like in KeyCorp's earnings release, but the market doesn't seem to agree. It could ultimately make the bank an affordable option for investors looking for a bank that has some room to grow. It currently trades at a nearly 20% discount to book value and boasts a 2.1% dividend with plenty of room to grow. It may be time to be greedy when others are fearful.
Fool contributor Robert Eberhard has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of KeyCorp. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.