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Citigroup: Financial Winners & Losers

Citigroup shares pace the financial sector on a boyuant day for stocks.
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(Financial Winners & Losers item updated for closing stock prices.)

NEW YORK (

TheStreet

) --

Citigroup

(C) - Get Report

shares paced the gains in the financial sector Wednesday during a buoyant trading session for U.S. equities in general.

Shares of Citigroup, which has reportedly grown closer to selling a big hedge fund business, finished trading at $3.45, up 11 cents, or 3%.

Nearly all financial stocks ended in the green Wednesday, following the broader market higher. Despite weaker-than-expected new-home-sales data, investors appeared to gather confidence after scanning transcripts of

Federal Reserve

Chairman Ben Bernanke's

latest Congressional testimony

, and saw that, sure enough, the central bank meant to keep interest rates at the good old near-zero status quo.

As debate about potential banking regulation overtakes Washington and Wall Street -- regulation that would strive to divide, as banking laws once did, depositary institutions from securities-trading businesses --

Citigroup is apparently close to striking a deal to sell its fund-of-hedge funds

, which has about $4 billion in assets. The buyer, according to a report in

The Wall Street Journal

Wednesday, is SkyBridge Capital, an alternative-asset-management firm.

JPMorgan Chase

(JPM) - Get Report

, meanwhile, used the occasion of its 10-K filing with the

Securities and Exchange Commission

to criticize new financial-sector regulations of all stripes, from the new credit-card policies to stricter derivatives oversight to the so-called "Volker Rule."

The megabank warned that the new credit-card rules would likely lead to its plastic business posting a first-quarter loss of $1 billion. Still, JPMorgan said in the filing that second-quarter credit-card losses would be "somewhat less" than $1 billion, a projection that might be better than earlier forecasts,

Reuters

reports.

All eyes now turn to Thursday's annual

investor-day conference, hosted by JPMorgan in New York

. A slew of executives, including top man Jamie Dimon, are on tap for speeches -- and probably a lot of PowerPoint, not to mention further critique of all those new financial-system regs.

JPMorgan shares closed Wednesday's regular session at $40.85, up 97 cents, or 2.4%.

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Bank of America

(BAC) - Get Report

shares gained 2.5% to $16.33, while

Wells Fargo

(WFC) - Get Report

added 1.4% to close at $27.66.

AIG

(AIG) - Get Report

shares moved sharply higher Wednesday on heavier-than-average volume, bouncing back from a

steep loss the previous session

. There was little in the way of direct, substantive news regarding the insurer, which is scheduled to report fourth-quarter results on Friday.

Shares of American International Group rose 4.6% Wednesday to $27.99.

Elsewhere in financial-collapse-fallout news,

Freddie Mac

reported fourth-quarter results that

showed a wider loss sequentially

, but one that paled in comparison to the $24 billion in red ink it spilled a year ago, with the financial system in tatters.

The mortgage-finance company -- which along with its sibling

Fannie Mae

securitizes home loans and, as such, became one of the goats of the subprime collapse -- said it lost $7.8 billion, or $2.39 a share, in the fourth quarter. In the third period, Freddie lost $5.4 billion.

Also Wednesday, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said the federal government's plan to reform Fannie and Freddie has essentially been

postponed again

. Testifying before the House Budget Committee, Geithner said no detailed reform strategy would be released this year, indicating just how thorny the institutions' problems remain, both politically and financially.

Freddie Mac shares closed the session with a 2-cent gain to $1.22. Fannie Mae's downtrodden issues, meanwhile, finished Wednesday at $1.02.

-- Written by Scott Eden in New York

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