Financial stocks lingered mostly in positive territory along with the broader market Friday, and among the winners were online brokers
as well as broker
SAC Capital Advisors and Jana Partners
to pursue a merger immediately
with either E*Trade or Schwab. The hedge funds together own an 8.4% stake in Ameritrade and are looking to purchase substantially more, as they recently disclosed. Ameritrade jumped 3.1% to $20.61; E*Trade gained 1.9% at $24.65; Schwab added 0.6% to $21.34.
rose 2.3% to $35.42 after an analyst with Morgan Stanley upped the Richmond, Va., life insurer to overweight from equal weight. He set a $42 price target, saying pessimism regarding weaknesses in the company -- particularly, in its mortgage guaranty and long-term care insurance units -- is weighing far too heavily on the stock price.
UBS meanwhile added $5 to
price target to $78, and maintained its buy rating, as the mortgage lender announced it's on track to become a current filer by early next year. It has lagged behind while restating earnings for 2001 through 2004. Shares ticked up 0.5% to $63.74
American Equity Investment Life
rose 1.2% to $11.73 after announcing that May annuity sales climbed 7.7% sequentially to $225.2 million. The Iowa-based insurer says this is the first time since 2005 that it brought in more than $200 million for two consecutive months.
Also climbing were insurer
. Each tacked on 1% or more to support the
Financial Sector Index, which was recently 0.2% higher at 9,668.99. The KBW Bank Index performed about as well.
On the downswing, however, were a couple of stocks hit with negative analyst calls.
, which performs mortgage services and sells insurance, was cut to equal-weight from overweight by Lehman Brothers. A.G. Edwards meanwhile lowered transaction processor
Fidelity National Information Services
to hold from buy.
First American slid 3.1% to $51.57; Fidelity traded down 1.5% to $51.91.
edged lower after filing to sell $750 million in senior bonds after the close Thursday. The Denver asset manager first announced the offering on Tuesday. Shares dipped a nickel to $26.69.
Also in the red, with losses of 1% or more, were
, mortgage lender
, and credit-ratings firm