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Updated with stock price moves throughout.)
NEW YORK (
Citigroup(C - Get Report) was among the best performers of the financial sector Friday, rising 6.5% after reports the bank has restarted efforts to unload its Japanese call center.
The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that Citi's Japanese private equity arm has resumed its effort to sell Bellsystem24, the country's largest call center company by market share. The first round of bidding for Bellsystem24, valued at $1.5 billion by Citi, will close on Sept. 1, the report said, citing a person familiar with the deal.
Citigroup shares were lately rising 29 cents to $4.77, bringing the five-day rally near 20%.
In other bank news,
Morgan Stanley(MS - Get Report) is planning to hire as many as 400 traders and sales people, according to a
Reuters report, as the firm moves to compete better with rival
Reuters late Thursday reported that Morgan Stanley had hired about half of the 400 planned additions to work across sales and trading, citing a source familiar with the plan. Morgan Stanley wants the workers for its foreign exchange, emerging markets and equity derivatives businesses, the report said.
Morgan Stanley shares were up 10 cents, or 0.3%, to $29.46. Goldman, meanwhile, was up 1.7% to $164.75.
Among other bank stocks,
JPMorgan Chase(JPM - Get Report) added 2.7%,
Bank of America(BAC - Get Report) was higher by 2% and
Wells Fargo(WFC) rose 1.7%.
Regional bank stocks were also jumping Friday.
Regions Financial(RF - Get Report) was higher by 6.6%,
Citizens Republic Bancorp(CRBC) rose 5.4%,
Fifth Third Bancorp(FITB) climbed 5%, and
Huntington Bancshares(HBAN) tacked on 2.7%