Friday's Financial Winners & Losers

NYSE soars to a record high, while EZCorp falls.
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Shares of

New York Stock Exchange

(NYX)

soared to a record high on Friday, following a series of events seen as positive developments for the Big Board. The exchange, which trades under the name NYSE Group, is getting close to a vote on its proposed merger with the Euronext, a big European exchange. The NYSE recently launched its "hybrid trading'' system and announced a series of job cuts.

The shares also may have gotten a boost from bullish comments by James Cramer Thursday evening on his "MadMoney" television show on

CNBC

. Cramer is the co-founder and major shareholder of

TheStreet.com

. Shares rose $7.30, or 8.3%, to close at $94.86.

Insurance behemoth

American International Group

(AIG) - Get Report

surged 2.7% after saying third-quarter profits more than doubled -- beating Wall Street expectations. The New York-based insurer earned $4 billion, or $1.53 a share, compared with $1.9 billion, or 71 cents a share, a year ago. Revenue rose 10.6% to $29.2 billion. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial were looking for earnings of $1.42 a share on revenue of $29.1 billion. AIG credits its results to a lack of catastrophic hurricanes this year. Shares closed up $1.58 at $69.62.

EZCorp

(EZPW) - Get Report

dropped after third-quarter earnings at the pawnshop operator fell short of Wall Street expectations. The Austin-based company earned $9.2 million, or 60 cents a share, compared to $3.7 million, or 27 cents a share, a year ago. The two analysts who follow the company had predicted earnings of 62 cents a share. Revenue rose to $9.2 million from $3.7 million. Shares closed down $3.92, or 8.1%, to $44.43.

Countrywide Financial

(CFC)

gained after the Calabasas, Calif.-based mortgage lender announced plans to convert its existing national bank charter to a federal savings bank charter. Once the application is approved, Countrywide Bank would be converted to a federal savings bank while its holding company would become a savings and loan holding company regulated by the Office of Thrift Supervision. The bank is currently regulated by the Office of the Comptroller of Currency. Shares closed higher by $1.06, or 2.7%, at $39.88.

KKR Financial

(KFN)

slid on a downgrade by an analyst at Bear Stearns to peer perform from outperform. The downtick comes on the heels of a third-quarter earnings report that missed Wall Street estimates. The San Francisco-based real estate investment trust earned $32.6 million, or 41 cents a share, compared with $18.5 million, or 24 cents a share, a year ago. Analysts were looking for income of 46 cents a share. Shares closed down 23 cents, or 0.9%, at $26.58.