(Financial Winners & Losers item updated for closing stock prices, including the late surge in AIG shares.)
NEW YORK (
) -- Financial shares ended Wednesday's session mostly higher --
shrugging off the blizzard hype as snow nonetheless continued to blanket Wall Street
-- with shares of
surging by more than 16% on heavy volume but little in the way of specific news.
American International Group is rumored to be in talks to unload its Alico unit to
for perhaps $15 billion,
AIG shares picked up momentum to the upside as Wednesday's trading session wore on. The stock ended the day at $26.92, rocketing $3.78, or 16.3%, on volume of 31.5 million shares, triple the daily average.
MetLife shares, meanwhile, finished at $34.93, down 0.6%.
AIG also appears to be on its way to unveiling a
for its employees, as the insurer strives to figure out a way to parcel out bonuses without calling them bonuses amid a poisonous political climate for high executive pay in the finance sector,
The Wall Street Journal
reported on its Web site late Wednesday.
influential equity research department reinstated
, albeit a neutral one.
Among the insights offered by Goldman in its fairly bullish Citigroup summation: that the bank has "capital and liquidity levels higher than its peers" and that buying the stock at current levels "looks tempting."
Citigroup shares moved into positive territory toward the end of Wednesday's session, closing at $3.20, up 2 cents.
On a day characterized by choppy trading, with
Ben Bernanke for the first time relating details of a low-interest-rate exit plan
, megabank issues gained ground.
added 1.3% to close the day at $38.87;
Bank of America
gained 1.4% to $14.67; and
climbed 1.8% to $27.18.
Shares of Goldman, whose CFO made some wide-ranging public remarks Wednesday about bank regulation, the state of the economy and the firm's hotly watched employee compensation, ended the day up 0.75% to $153.63.
shares rose 1.4% to $27.51.
-- Written by Scott Eden in New York
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Scott Eden has covered business -- both large and small -- for more than a decade. Prior to joining TheStreet.com, he worked as a features reporter for Dealmaker and Trader Monthly magazines. Before that, he wrote for the Chicago Reader, that city's weekly paper. Early in his career, he was a staff reporter at the Dow Jones News Service. His reporting has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Men's Journal, the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, and the Believer magazine, among other publications. He's also the author of Touchdown Jesus (Simon & Schuster, 2005), a nonfiction book about Notre Dame football fans and the business and politics of big-time college sports. He has degrees from Notre Dame and Washington University in St. Louis.