First Horizon is back in black

First quarterly profit for First Tenn. parent company since 2008

First Horizon National Corp.: FHN on NYSE

52-week range: $10.76-$15.86

First Horizon National Corp. is back in the black.

The parent company of First Tennessee bank on Friday reported a second-quarter net income available to common shareholders of nearly $2.7 million, or $.01 a diluted share, up from a loss of more than $123 million in the same period a year ago. The results mark the first quarterly profit for First Horizon since the first quarter of 2008.

"We are excited about the return to profitability," said president and CEO Bryan Jordan, who took the reins of the company in September 2008. "We also look at it as a step and a progression. That progression is to drive significantly higher returns over the long term."

The results were boosted in part by First Horizon being able to reduce the amount of money directed into its allowance for loan losses. The company's loan-loss provision in the quarter fell to $70 million - down from $105 million in the first quarter - and the company said non-performing loans fell for the fifth straight quarter, to $790.5 million.

In a news release, the company said credit quality improvement is partly because of improvement in First Horizon's "commercial and industrial" loan portfolio. Jordan said that, particularly in the Tennessee portion of the company, the credit quality is "reflective of an economy that's getting better at a gradual pace."

Despite the positive news, shares of the company's stock took a hit on Friday, trading down more than 2.6 percent, on a day when all the major market indexes dropped more than 2.5 percent.

Business writer Josh Flory may be reached at 865-342-6994. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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