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) -- Financial stocks were mixed on Wednesday, even as the broader market posted decent gains.

The Standard & Poor's 500 finished up 0.42% and the Nasdaq rose 0.74%, while the

Financial Select Sector SPDR

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-- a popular financial sector exchange traded fund -- rose just 0.06% to $16.42

The slight gain for the sector benchmark came despite the fact that many of the largest financial companies were lower.

Wells Fargo

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, shares fell 0.81% to close at $32.44,

Bank of America

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dropped 0.66% to $13.54 and


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shares fell 0.31% to $4.81 despite the fact that an analyst

lifted his price target on the stock


Goldman Sachs

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Morgan Stanley

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shares also finished in negative territory, with only

JPMorgan Chase

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managing a slight gain among the largest banks, rising 0.20% to close at $44.96.

Volumes were average to slightly below average on most financial stocks, though

Fannie Mae



Freddie Mac


were two prominent exceptions.

Volumes on the common shares of the mortgage giants, which were delisted from the New York Stock Exchange in June, have shot up in recent days as public discussion about what to do with them is scheduled to begin soon. The Obama administration had been scheduled to present a plan to Congress Jan. 31, but will now present a plan by the middle of next month, according to a Jan. 22 report by The Wall Street Journal, citing anonymous sources.

Volumes on Freddie Mac neared 37 million shares versus a trailing three month daily average of just over three million, while Fannie Mae shares topped 61 million, versus a trailing three month daily average of less than seven million. While Fannie and Freddie posted big gains Tuesday on similar volumes, they fell sharply Wednesday.

Fannie dropped 26.62% to 46 cents, while Freddie fell 11 cents, or 16.58%, to 56 cents. While

some hedge fund investors are willing to gamble on the preferred shares

, few see much hope for the common shares, even though Ralph Nader wrote an editorial in The Wall Street Journal Wednesday identifying himself as a common shareholder in the GSEs and urging common shareholders to fight for their rights.


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.