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U.S. Bancorp Profit Beats Estimates as Loss Provisions Decline

Jan. 22 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. Bancorp, the nation’s largest regional lender, reported fourth-quarter profit that beat analysts’ estimates as the bank set aside less money for credit losses.

Net income rose 2.5 percent to $1.46 billion, or 76 cents a share, from $1.42 billion, or 72 cents, a year earlier, the Minneapolis-based bank said today in a statement. The average estimate of 31 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was for adjusted earnings of 75 cents a share. Full-year net income increased 3.3 percent to $5.8 billion.

U.S. Bancorp, run by Chief Executive Officer Richard Davis, 55, joins other regional lenders whose attention is shifting from credit-crisis fallout to the nation’s improving economy. The firm, which said last month higher rates may prompt a decline in mortgage-banking revenue, outpaced larger peers in the first three quarters last year on metrics including return on equity, return on assets and cost controls.

“U.S. Bancorp has good growth prospects and largely remains insulated from the struggles the banking industry as a whole is facing,” Paul Miller, an analyst at FBR Capital Markets Corp., said in a Jan. 10 research note.

U.S. Bancorp rose less than 1 percent to $41.58 at the close of trading yesterday in New York. The shares have climbed 2.9 percent this year, compared with the 2.6 percent advance of the KBW Bank Index. Last year, U.S. Bancorp was the fourth-worst performer in the 24-company index.

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