) --


(C) - Get Report

was the winner among the largest financial names on Wednesday, with shares rising 2.5% to close at $51.34.

Bank stocks led the market again, as the

KBW Bank Index


rose over 1% to close at 60.51, with all but one of the 24 index components ending the session with gains


Dow Jones Industrial Average


S&P 500


each pushed further into record territory, after stronger-than-expected housing numbers offset a disappointing report on manufacturing activity.

The National Association for Home Builders said its Housing Market Index, prepared in cooperation with Wells Fargo, rose by three points to a reading of 44, increasing from a downwardly revised reading of 41 in April. The industry group said the higher reading during May "reflected improvement in all three index components - current sales conditions, sales expectations and traffic of prospective buyers."

Also see: Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Help Uncle Sam Shrink Deficit: >>

Economists polled by Thomson Reuters had on average expected a May reading of 43 for the Housing Market Index.

"While industry supply chains will take time to re-establish themselves following recession-related cutbacks, builders' views of current sales conditions have improved and expectations for the future remain quite strong as consumers head back to the market in force," said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe.

Still, a Housing Market Index reading below 50 indicates that a majority of builders view market conditions as poor.

The Federal Reserve on Wednesday said that U.S. industrial production declined by 0.5% during April after having increased by 0.3% in March and 0.9% in February. Economists expected a smaller decline in production of just 0.1% in April. Total industrial production during April was 1.9% above the level a year earlier.

Also see: HSBC Makes U.S. Banks Look Fat and Lazy >>


Citi's shares have returned a remarkable 30% this year, following a 51% return during 2012. The shares trade for just below their reported March 31 tangible book value of $52.35, and for 9.7 times the consensus 2014 earnings estimate of $5.32, among analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. The consensus 2013 EPS estimate is $4.71.

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Interested in more on Citigroup? See TheStreet Ratings' report card for this stock.

Also see: Analysts Say Do Not Vote Out Jamie Dimon >>

-- Written by Philip van Doorn in Jupiter, Fla.

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Philip W. van Doorn is a member of TheStreet's banking and finance team, commenting on industry and regulatory trends. He previously served as the senior analyst for Ratings, responsible for assigning financial strength ratings to banks and savings and loan institutions. Mr. van Doorn previously served as a loan operations officer at Riverside National Bank in Fort Pierce, Fla., and as a credit analyst at the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, where he monitored banks in New York, New Jersey and Puerto Rico. Mr. van Doorn has additional experience in the mutual fund and computer software industries. He holds a bachelor of science in business administration from Long Island University.