SOURCE: Paragon Financial Limited

Paragon Financial Limited

February 29, 2012 08:20 ET

European Financial Stocks Start to Rebound - Lloyds Bank and The Bank of Ireland Optimistic

The Paragon Report Provides Equity Research on Lloyds Banking Group & The Bank of Ireland

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - Feb 29, 2012) - European financial stocks have performed surprisingly well this year as the finance ministers of the 17-member eurozone agreed to grant the second bailout worth 130 billion euros to a bankrupt Greece. The iShares MSCI Europe Financials Sector Index Fund (EUFN) -- which is designed to measure the combined equity market performance of the financial sector of developed market countries in Europe -- is up more than 18 percent year to date. The Paragon Report examines investing opportunities in the Foreign Banking Industry and provides equity research on Lloyds Banking Group PLC (NYSE: LYG) (LSE: LLOY) and The Bank of Ireland (NYSE: IRE) (LSE: BKIR) (ISE: BIR). Access to the full company reports can be found at:

Recent money supply data for January from the European Central Bank (ECB) shows that the European Central Bank's generous liquidity policy is working. The annual growth in M3 accelerated to 2.5% in January following a 0.1 percentage point downwardly revised 1.5% increase in December. This was much higher than analysts' expectations of a 1.8% rise, The Wall Street Journal explains.

The data shows that the 12-month growth in loans to the private sector, including households and companies, rose from 1 percent to 1.1 percent in January. Lending for house purchases grew slightly, by 4 billion euros in January, while credit for consumption grew 2 billion euros, according to seasonally- adjusted data from the ECB.

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Lloyds Banking Group plc provides various banking and financial services to personal and corporate customers primarily in the United Kingdom. Last week the company posted a full-year net loss of $4.41 billion as it pushed back a key earnings target, citing a gloomy U.K. macroeconomic outlook and increased regulatory uncertainty. Despite the loss, Chief Executive Antonio Horta-Osorio said that the group "is now in a significantly stronger position than it was 12 months ago."

Bank of Ireland also believes it is in a better position this year. By end-December last year, it had fully exited the costly emergency liquidity assistance (ELA) offered by Ireland's central bank and reduced its dependency on European Central Bank funding to 23 billion euros from 33 billion a year earlier.

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