NEW YORK (
) -- Financial stocks were generally weaker Tuesday as investor anxiety continued over European countries' efforts to restructure address high debt levels in several countries.
Financial Select Sector SPDR
, a popular exchange-traded fund that tracks financial stocks, was down 0.48% to $14.47 shortly after noon. U.S. giants hit by the selloff included
Bank of America
, down 0.89% and 0.81% respectively.
One notable exception to the selloff was
shares of which were outperforming other big financials Tuesday following bullish notes from Oppenheimer and ISI Group.
ISI raised Citigroup to "buy" from "hold," setting a $5.50 price target, according to
Dow Jones Newswires
. ISI stated several reasons for the upgrade, including improving credit quality and the fact that big institutional investors are underweighted in the name,
While Oppenheimer analyst Chris Kotowski
did not raise his $5.20 price target , he titled the report "From Value To Growth?" and gave Citigroup bulls some red meat by writing that his recent meeting with Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit and CFO John Gerspach gave Oppenheimer analysts "increased confidence that our recommendation can shift from mainly a relative value call today to a more growth-based recommendation a year or two down the line."
Some respite from the selling could be seen in diversified conglomerates with a big financial component.
( BRK-B) shares were up by 0.33% to $79.77, and
shares were down by just 0.50% to $15.89.
The real action, however, was in Europe, and U.S.-listed European banks were weaker across the board in heavy trading. The
Bank of Ireland
's U.S. shares were down 6.28% to $1.72 on volumes of more than 20 million, nearly tripling the trailing three month daily average in just three hours of trading.
( STD) saw more than 17 million shares change hands on the New York Stock Exchange in less than three hours of trading. That compares to a trailing three month daily average of just over 7 million shares.
Written by Dan Freed in New York
Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks.