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Huntington Bancshares 1st-quarter net income dips

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Huntington Bancshares said Wednesday that its net income sank 1 percent in the first quarter, as revenue from fees and selling loans declined compared with same period of 2012.

The parent company of Huntington National Bank reported net income of $151.8 million, or 17 cents per share, for the three months ended March 31. That's a drop from the $153.3 million, or 17 cents per share, it reported in the first three months of 2012.

The per-share results stayed the same because of a 2 percent reduction in the number of outstanding shares since last year.

The bank, based in Columbus, Ohio, said total revenue was $682.3 million, down 3 percent from $706.5 million the year before.

Analysts had been looking for Huntington to post earnings per share of 16 cents and total revenue of $695.6 million, according to the data provider FactSet.

Huntington's board also raised the company's dividend payout and plans to buy back more stock.

A 12 percent drop in noninterest income, a banking term for a wide variety of fees, was the main culprit for the earnings decline. The big difference: Huntington reported a $26.8 million gain from a sale of loans in the first quarter of 2012. This time out, it reported a gain of $2.6 million from selling loans. Net interest income, or earnings from traditional banking operations like deposits and loans, rose 2 percent to $424.2 million.

The bank's board of directors said it would raise the quarterly dividend to 5 cents per share, an increase of one penny. And the board also signed off on a plan to buy back up to $227 million of the bank's stock.

In Wednesday trading, Huntington Bancshares lost 17 cents, or 2.4 percent, to $7.05. The bank's stock has traded as high as $7.55 and as low as $5.81 over the past 52 weeks, and is up more than 10 percent since the start of the year.