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PNC Financial’s profits, shares jump despite growing loan losses

NEW YORK — Shares of PNC Financial Services Group Inc. soared Thursday after the nation’s fifth largest bank said its profit grew sharply during the third quarter, even as loan losses rose.

Echoing results at rivals Wells Fargo & Co. and US Bancorp, the Pittsburgh-based bank said rising interest and fee income, boosted by its acquisition of National City Corp., more than offset a big jump in loan losses, which rose to $650 million from $122 million in the third quarter of last year.

Earnings available to common shareholders totaled $467 million, or $1 per share, in the three months ended Sept. 30, as revenue more than doubled to $4.05 billion. Income and revenue were well above what Wall Street was anticipating. A year ago, the bank earned $248 million, or 70 cents a share.

Shares rallied $5.69, or 12.7 percent, to $50.65.

Last year at this time, PNC shares were trading near $75. But shortly after announcing its plans to buy National City in late October, shares began to plunge, along with the entire financial sector, as investors worried about the stability of banks.

Like nearly all banks, PNC has battled mounting loan losses as consumers struggle to repay debt. PNC set aside $914 million during the third quarter to cover faulty loans, nearly five times the amount set aside during the same period last year, but 16 percent less than the $1.1 billion in the second quarter.

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