) --


(C) - Get Citigroup Inc. Report

was among the top performing bank stocks as the financial sector continued to climb Wednesday following upbeat remarks on the economy from the head of the

Federal Reserve



shares rose 4.3% to $3.88 as the broader financial sector traded higher following positive remarks from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke during his appearance before the House Budget Committee.

"The economy -- supported by stimulative monetary policy and the concerted efforts of policymakers to stabilize the financial system -- appears to be on track to continue to expand through this year and next," Bernanke told the House committee.

More on Citi Cramer: Must Buy Citi

U.S. markets rose after Bernanke's testimony, with the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

climbing back above the 10,000 mark. The financial sector was part of the upswing, with the

iShares Dow Jones U.S. Financial Sector

(IYF) - Get iShares U.S. Financials ETF Report

climbing 1.1%, the

Financial Select Sector SPDR

(XLF) - Get Financial Select Sector SPDR Fund Report

up 0.9%, and the


(KBE) - Get SPDR S&P Bank ETF Report

rising 0.6%.

In addition to Citigroup, bank stock winners included

Goldman Sachs

(GS) - Get Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (GS) Report

, which was up 1% to $139.11, and

Morgan Stanley

(MS) - Get Morgan Stanley (MS) Report

TheStreet Recommends

, which gained 0.9% to $25.83.

Bank of America

(BAC) - Get Bank of America Corp Report

was up 0.4% to $15.39.

On the downside,

JPMorgan Chase

(JPM) - Get JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) Report

slipped 0.1% to $37.74, while

Wells Fargo

(WFC) - Get Wells Fargo & Company Report

was down 0.5% to $27.62.


shares fell even after the bank said it has signed a joint venture agreement with First Capital Securities to underwrite initial public offerings and fund raisings in the Chinese domestic market. The foray into China's IPO market is part of JPMorgan's wider push to grab a larger share of fees coming from the country's growing capital markets industry.

Among other losing financial stocks,

Ambac Financial

( ABK) plunged by 37 cents, or 35%, to 69 cents after the bond insurer said in a regulatory filing that it may seek a negotiated restructuring through a prepackaged bankruptcy.

In addition, senior debtholders of the company have formed a committee to nudge

Ambac toward a prepackaged bankruptcy plan



reports, citing people familiar with the matter.

On the other hand,

American Capital


jumped by 43 cents, or 9.9%, to $4.77 after the company extended its debt-exchange offer by one day to June 9. American Capital needs approval from 85% of its noteholders for its plan to restructure debt, although only 14% of participating noteholders supported the company's plan.

-- Written by Robert Holmes in Boston


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