Updated from 1:23 p.m. EDT
Financial stocks lifted higher than the flat-lining broader market Wednesday despite a confluence of poor earnings from a number of companies.
Helping to keep things afloat was Houston's HCC Insurance (HCC - Get Report), which gained 3.7% to $31.92 after first-quarter earnings shot up to $96.7 million, or 83 cents a share, from 68 cents a share last year. This beats estimates by 6 cents, according to Thomson Financial.
Online broker optionsXpress (OXPS) also spiked on word it saw a 24% year-over-year surge in customer accounts and client assets as of the end of April. Daily avenue revenue trades added 2% from last year and 8% sequentially. Shares of the Chicago-based company rose 2.7% to $24.36.Also doing fairly well were Swiss banks UBS (UBS) and Credit Suisse (CS - Get Report). UBS tacked on 0.9% to $63.24 after agreeing to buy half of Northern Star Generation, a power-generation outfit, from an American International Group (AIG - Get Report) fund. AIG lately gained 0.4% to $72. Meanwhile, Merrill Lynch upgraded Credit Suisse to buy from neutral, boosting its shares by 1% at $76.62. The NYSE Financial Sector Index, of which all but one of the above are components, climbed 51.6 points, or 0.4%, to 9920.77. The KBW Bank Index recently added 0.7% to 118.17. Weighing down the sector, however, were names like CompuCredit (CCRT), which slid 9.3% after swinging to a managed loss of $9.5 million, or 19 cents a share, in the first quarter -- a far cry from the 21-cent-per-share profit sought by analysts. The Atlanta-based lender's shares lost $3.57 to $34.75.