PNC Financial Services Group Inc. said Thursday that it will sell 15 million common shares to shore up its capital position as directed by the federal government in response to its stress test.

The Pittsburgh company was told last week that it needed to boost capital by $600 million. It was the smallest of the 10 banking companies identified by regulators as needing more equity.

Numerous companies have announced plans in the past week to raise capital by selling stock, some to repay the Treasury Department for its infusions last fall. Investors have largely been flocking to the secondary offerings as equities have continued to rise.

PNC announced its offering two days after Moody's Investors Service Inc. lowered debt ratings on the company and its banking units, saying the company needed to face its immediate challenges, including boosting its common equity position.

Moody's said it believed PNC could raise the $600 million called for by the government comfortably through a stock offering, since the amount was less than 3% of the company's market capitalization.

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