Updated from 3:06 p.m. EDT
Financial stocks helped to lift the market higher Thursday, thanks to a series of upgrades to the sector.
were upgraded to outperform from market perform by Bernstein Research analyst Brad Hintz, who saw a lack of competition and fixed income trading aiding their results. He increased the price target for Goldman to $176 and Morgan to $37. Both closed the day on the upside with Goldman gaining 5.2% to end the day at $149.47 and Morgan closed up 5% to $31.20.
The NYSE Financial Sector Index climbed 2.9% to close at 4030.51 and the KBW Bank Index jumped 4.8% to 37.88.
FBR Capital Markets upgraded
to market perform based on valuation. The analyst is still cautious on the earnings outlook and has a price target of $15. The stock jumped over 7.2% to $16.52.
got an upgrade to top pick from sector perform from RBC Capital Markets and was lifted a whopping 19.6% to $5.50. The analyst felt that the current valuation overplayed the risk factor.
Keefe Bruyette & Woods upgraded
to market perform from underperform on the strength of its recent dividend cut and capital raise. The stock edged up 61 cents to $22.26 for the day.
Bank of America
both received a price target increase from KBW, pushing the stocks up 5.9% and 5.2%, respectively.
Fifth Third Bank
popped 7.4% to $7 on the completion of its $1 billion stock offering. The bank needed to raise capital after the recent stress tests, but it's also making noise about already positioning itself to pay back government bailout money.
recently was closed up 2.3% to $4.05 after announcing it had priced and offering of 90 million shares of common stock at $3.60 a share.
got a boost after the
reported it might
break up its aircraft lease unit
. The insurance giant has been kept alive by infusions of capital from the government buying it time to sell off assets. The stock ended the afternoon with a gain of 17 cents to sell at $1.64.