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AIG, BlackRock Lead Financial Firms in Selling Shares This Year

By Liz Moyer When the going gets tough, banks turn to their own to drum up business. As global equity underwriting for the first half of this year hit a seven-year low, financial companies led other sectors in selling shares to the market. The top three issuers--American International Group (AIG), BlackRock Inc. (BLK) and Capital One Financial Corp. (COF)--have collectively issued some $23 billion year-to-date, according to Ipreo, a capital markets research firm. AIG's three stock sales--the biggest among financial firms this year totalling $17.4 billion--are related to the U.S. government's sale of its holdings in the insurer. After AIG, BlackRock is the second-largest seller with a $4.6 billion offering in May. Capital One sold $1.3 billion of stock in March. Financial companies have long been Wall Street's biggest customers. Among the top banks arranging stock sales for the financial sector, Morgan Stanley (MS) leads so far this year with 21 deals. Bank of America (BAC) is second with 20 deals, and Citigroup (C) is third with 15, according to Ipreo. J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (JPM), Barclays Plc. (BCS), Deutsche Bank AG (DB) and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) each have 14. Revenue from underwriting, whether it be initial public offerings or subsequent sales by public companies, is down on Wall Street. At Morgan Stanley, which led high profile IPOs like Facebook Inc.'s (FB) debut in May, stock underwriting revenue fell 35% in the first half of the year, to $455 million. Bank of America's equity underwriting revenue fell 43% to $497 million in the first half of the year. Citi's equity underwriting revenue fell 33% to $321 million. While financial firms were busier than other sectors, their issuance was down from last year, at $34 billion so far this year compared to $38.1 billion last year. Technology firms sold $24 billion of equity year-to-date, according to Ipreo, up from $16.6 billion in 2011. Real estate investment trusts also sold $24 billion of equity so far this year, down from $28.4 billion last year. Write to Liz Moyer at liz.moyer@dowjones.com Subscribe to WSJ: http://online.wsj.com?mod=djnwires

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