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Friday's Financial Winners & Losers

Sallie Mae climbs higher on reports the lender will be taken private.
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The financial sector shot out of the gate Friday morning, breaking from the more wobbly broader market amidst varied buyout-related news.

Sallie Mae

(SLM) - Get SLM Corp Report

surged 11.2% to $45.32 after

The New York Times

reported the student lender is in talks to be

taken private

for possibly more than $20 billion.

Piper Jaffray

(PJC) - Get Piper Jaffray Companies Report

climbed as well, after agreeing to buy privately held Fiduciary Asset Management for $66 million in a deal that should close in the third quarter. Shares were lately rising $1.87, or 2.9%, to $65.46.

The

NYSE

Financial Sector Index, of which both Sallie Mae and Piper Jaffray are components, recently lifted by 26.12 points to 9546.17. The KBW Bank Index was tacking on 60 points, or 0.5%, to 112.93.

The

Nasdaq Stock Market

TheStreet Recommends

I:IXIC

, meanwhile, rode high on word it hadn't, in fact, offered to buy Swedish exchange

OMX

for $3.33 billion. Reports had emerged Thursday to that effect. Nasdaq shares were climbing $1.79, or 6.1%, to $31.38.

As for analyst calls, Friedman Billings upped

BankAtlantic Bancorp

(BBX) - Get BBX Capital Corporation Class A Report

to outperform from market perform due to the bank's efforts to recover from its late slump, kicking up shares by 60 cents, or 6%, to $10.85. Savings bank

Ocwen Financial

(OCN) - Get Ocwen Financial Corporation Report

gained 5.6% to $13.51 on an upgrade to outperform by Piper Jaffray.

Elsewhere,

PNC Financial

(PNC) - Get PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. Report

was higher after accounting firm Ernst & Young agreed to settle with PNC investors for roughly $9.1 million regarding claims it had helped the bank cover up bad loans and investments in 2001. Shares were adding $1.65, or 2.3%, to $72.75.

Indiana's

Irwin Financial

(IFC)

was one of few financial-sector losers today, sliding 5.5% to $16.88 after predicting a first-quarter loss from operations partly blamed on the effects of the larger mortgage market. Shares of

Fairfax Financial

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were down slightly to $228.34 after the Canada-based insurer filed a shelf registration for the sale of up to $750 million in shares, warrants and debt.

Other names that moved to the downside today include

Sovereign Bancorp

(SOV)

, sinking 3.2% to $23.50;

Friedman Billings

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, losing 1.8% to $5.63; and

E*Trade

(ETFC) - Get E*TRADE Financial Corporation Report

, lately shedding 1.4% to $21.65.