Record profits were not enough to discourage Downey Financial Corp.’s shareholders from unloading its stock.

On Thursday the $10.9 billion-asset company, which owns Downey Savings and Loan Association of Newport Beach, Calif., reported a 15.7% rise in fourth-quarter earnings, to $23 million or 81 cents a share. Yet its stock plunged 18% that day, in heavy trading, to $43.95, and was selling at $44.5625 at midday Monday. Why the selloff? One explanation could be that per-share earnings were still 9 cents below analysts’ estimates.

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