) -- Financial stocks were mixed for the most part, yet at least one bank stock was getting a boost from merger speculation.


Financial Select Sector SPDR

(XLF) - Get Report

was trading roughly flat, up just 0.5% to $15.56.

BankAltantic Bancorp

(BBX) - Get Report

shares were up roughly 13% after the Fort Lauderdale-based regional bank responded late Wednesday to speculation that it was up for sale by saying even though its intention is to remain independent, it is in shareholders best interest to "be flexible and open to opportunities."

"Given the challenges of the current economic environment, we recognize the need to be nimble, prepared and comprehensive in the options we consider," BankAtlantic's Chairman and CEO Alan Levan said in a statement. "Management continues to aggressively focus on reducing expenses, returning to profitability, evaluating available alternatives to reduce our level of nonperforming assets, and continuing to focus on capital in order to provide BankAtlantic with strategic flexibility."


Bank of America

(BAC) - Get Report

shares rose 2.7% to $12.63. The Charlotte-based bank was reportedly in discussions to settle with several investors requests for

mortgage putbacks


BofA shares were still rising even though Keefe Bruyette & Woods

downgraded the stock

on Thursday along with


(BBT) - Get Report



(CMA) - Get Report


BB&T shares were also rising 0.9% to $26.40. Comerica shares were rising 0.8% to $40.58.

Other financials that were gaining included shares of

Marshall & Ilsley

( MI),

New York Community Bancorp

( NYB) and

Valley National

(VLY) - Get Report


Several large-cap bank stocks were in the red on Thursday.


(C) - Get Report

shares after falling most of the morning, were inching back above the water line. At last check, the stock was rising 0.3% to $4.60.

Shares of

Discover Financial Services

(DFS) - Get Report

were most recently falling 2% to $18.74. The

card payments network reported fiscal fourth quarter profit

of $349.6 million, or 64 cents a share, higher than Wall Street was expecting aided by credit improvement. However, Discover's revenue fell short of expectations.

-- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.

To contact the writer of this article, click here:

Laurie Kulikowski


To submit a news tip, send an email to:


Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks.