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) -- 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

(XLF) - Get Financial Select Sector SPDR Report

, 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

(BAC) - Get Bank of America Corporation Report


Wells Fargo

(WFC) - Get Wells Fargo & Company Report

, down 0.89% and 0.81% respectively.

One notable exception to the selloff was


(C) - Get Citigroup Inc. Report

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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,

Dow Jones


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.

Berkshire Hathaway

( BRK-B) shares were up by 0.33% to $79.77, and

General Electric

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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.


Banco Santander

( 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.