ING Group reported a 5.6% decline in Q1 net profit to €1.894 billion, or €0.88/share, in-line with analysts' average estimate (Reuters poll). Its ordinary shares were mostly flat in morning trading Wednesday following its earnings announcement, likely buoyed by plans to repurchase €5b of common stock equal to about 6% of shares outstanding. Coverage of its earnings by Reuters mentions analysts believe the buyback signals ING is not looking to make any large acquisitions. Analysts also say ING's shares are undervalued, trading at 9x forward earnings, compared to European sector peers trading at a multiple of 10 to 11. ING said it plans to launch ING Direct in Japan later this year. ING's NYSE-listed shares gained 1% to $45.10 in normal trading Tuesday.
Sources: Press release, Bloomberg, Reuters
Commentary: Barron's Euro Dogs of the Dow 2007 • Jim Cramer's Take on ING • ING Posts Surprise Jump in Profit
Stocks/ETFs to watch: ING Group N.V. (ING). Competitors: AEGON N.V. (AEG), Allianz SE (AZ), AXA (AXA), ABN AMRO Holding N.V. (ABN). ETFs: iShares MSCI EMU Index (EZU), iShares MSCI Netherlands Index (EWN), DJ Euro Stoxx 50 (FEZ)
Related: ING Investor Relations earnings materials
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