Updated from 1:53 p.m. EDT
Financial stocks were climbing higher than most ahead of this Tuesday's highly anticipated rate-cut decision from the Federal Reserve, and individual names like Lehman Brothers (LEH) also helped to lighten the mood.
The broker's shares gained 10% to $64.49 on third-quarter earnings that were
Lehman helped give legs to the NYSE Financial Sector Index, which jumped 348.8 points, or 3.9%, to around 9226.Capital One (COF - Get Report) bolstered the index, as well, after announcing it intends on paying out some 25% of its 2008 income in fixed quarterly dividends. Shares spiked 6.9% to $69.73 as the KBW Bank Index, of which the credit-card company is also a member, gained 4.6% to about 110.5. Fellow credit-card concern American Express (AXP - Get Report) added 4.5% to $60.80 after Standard Chartered agreed to buy its international banking unit for about $1.1 billion. The exact value of the transaction, which should close in the first quarter, is the net asset value of the unit's businesses at the closing date plus $300 million. Among few financial losers today was online broker E*Trade (ETFC - Get Report), which said it will exit or restructure "non-core businesses that lack a direct and strategic connection with its retail customers," including a departure from wholesale mortgage. E*Trade