Updated from 3:19 p.m. EDT
Financial stocks traded in positive territory on Thursday, helping lift the overall market.
Bank of America
closed up 8.3% at $12.97 after analysts at Keefe Bruyette and Woods upgraded the stock to outperform from market perform and boosted the price target from $12 to $16.50.
Meanwhile, BofA Chief Executive Ken Lewis testified before Congress. Lewis has faced harsh criticism over the bank's acquisition of Merrill Lynch, and he suggested he was under pressure from federal officials to complete the deal.
The NYSE Financial Sector Index rose 56.41 points, or 1.4%, to 4057.44, while the KBW Bank Index moved up 2.5% to 38.19.
Elsewhere, Goldman Sachs analysts were positive on several regional bank names, with
both lifted from neutral ratings to buy ratings. Regions was given a $5 target price, and the stock popped 9.2% to $4.37. Fifth Third received a price target of $8.50, and the stock traded up 5.9% to $7.77.
were all upgraded from sell to neutral. BB&T ended the day up 1.5% to $22.56, Huntington Bancshares added 2.5% to close at $4.13, and SunTrust gained 1.6% to $16.78.
rose 6.7% to $19.90 after
The Wall Street Journal
might announce a deal to buy Barclays Global Investors. Barclays has also been attempting to sell its iShares business.
saw its shares climb after the
reported that the online broker was working with Citadel to improve its financial stability. Citadel may be giving the company more cash, but it has to keep its stock ownership below 24%, the report said. The stock closed at $1.66, a gain of 7 cents.
On the losing side, Piper Jaffray initiated a buy rating on
and gave the credit card provider a $222 price target. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough to lift the stock as it fell 2.1% to finish at $169.95.
announced it was planning to offer $900 million of new common stock, and the shares pulled back 64 cents to $25.69. The company is planning on using the capital to fund potential mergers and acquisitions.
On the deal front,
completed its acquisition of hedge fund Highbridge Capital Management. The banking giant had originally taken a 55% stake in the company in 2004 and has been slowly increasing its ownership over the years. The funds' performance struggled in 2008, but rebounded in 2009. JPMorgan closed out the day up slightly at $34.94, a gain of 10 cents.