Updated from 2:41 p.m. EDT
Financial stocks were red-hot Friday, propelled by the soaring broad market and sector-specific good news.
( NMX) was one of the biggest winners, jumping 8% earlier in the day after
reported that it's
exploring a possible sale
to another exchange that could fetch $155 a share, or $14.3 billion. The commodities exchange is in talks with
Chicago Mercantile Exchange
and Deutsche Boerse, according to two people involved.
But the stock's gain was tempered after a former Nymex board member said he was
unaware of any merger discussions
. Nymex closed up 1.7% at $142.12. NYSE closed down 1% while CME gained that same amount.
Also climbing on M&A news were the
Bank of New York
( MEL), whose December
stock-swap merger proposal
was cleared by both the
and the Justice Department. The banks said they expect to close the deal on or about July 1. Shares of the banks closed up 1.2% and 1.3%, respectively.
( FRE) was upgraded to outperform at Friedman Billings, pushing shares slightly up earlier in the day; they closed down 24 cents at $65. Wachovia raised
( BSC) 2007 earnings estimate by a dime to $14.01, citing a record backlog and favorable broad-market trends. Shares traded actively and closed up 49 cents to $150.09 following somewhat wobbly trading.
gained 4.9% to $157.65 after
a previously announced plan for converting Class B shares into Class A shares on an accelerated basis. And
Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services
was one of the sector's biggest percentage gainers Friday, surging 13.9% to $2.71 after announcing it has been preliminarily added to the Russell 3000 Index.
Among very few financial losers Friday was asset manager
Fortress Investment Group
, which slid 6.5% after
agreeing to take out
Penn National Gaming
for $8.9 billion. Fortress shares lost $1.64 to $23.47 as Penn surged 21.5% to $62.12.
tumbled 11.1% to $1.60 after the Puerto Rico lender swung to a first-quarter loss of $37.3 million, or 42 cents a share. Stifel Nicolaus slapped a sell rating on
. Shares of the insurer were off 3.6% to $23.80.
More broadly, however, both the
Financial Sector Index and the KBW Bank Index climbed 0.7% and 0.5%, respectively.